When we hear “diabetic exams” probably one of the last things we think of is eye care. Most people don't know that the health condition of diabetes and the ocular health of diabetic patients are often linked. But the truth is, diabetes and our eyes are intimately connected. When a patient has diabetes, the condition can often exacerbate the health of that patient’s eyes through a unique circumstance.
The most common link between diabetes and the eyes manifests in a peculiar condition called “diabetic retinopathy.” Diabetic retinopathy is caused by damage caused by diabetes and exerted on the blood vessels of the retina. The retina is the layer of tissue towards the back of the inner eye. The retina is responsible for transferring light and images that enter the eye into nerve signals which are then sent to the brain.
A patient’s retinas are very important to eyesight. The retina acts as an individual nerve layer, unique to this section of the body. This nerve layer can sense light and create nerve impulses with that light. It is the section of the eye that communicates what the eyes pick up into actual objects and things as understood by the brain. But when the blood vessels of the retina are damaged by diabetes, the retina ceases to perform their function well, and eyesight is hindered as a result.
That is why it is so crucial for patients with diabetes to receive regular eye exams. The unique thing about diabetic retinopathy is that the patient does not even notice the formulation of this condition until it is too late. However, an optometrist, with their tools, instruments, and considerable knowledge in this area can detect the onset of this condition in its early stages and correct it.
See an Optometrist Frequently if You Have Diabetes
Patients who require corrective lenses should see an optometrist once a year as a general rule of thumb. But a patient with diabetes, whether they use corrective lenses or not, should also see an eye doctor once per year. Even if their primary care physician checks their eyes regularly, a visit to the eye doctor is still necessary, if only because an eye doctor has equipment which can examine the retina far better than a primary care doctor can.
For people with diabetes who do develop diabetic retinopathy, their optometrist will likely refer them to an ophthalmologist. An ophthalmologist is a specialty medical doctor who has specific knowledge in diagnosing and treating severe eye problems.
But if you can see your optometrist often enough, he or she can likely catch any signs of diabetic retinopathy early enough to correct the condition before it gets out of hand. The methods for correcting this condition sometimes involve laser eye surgery. Laser eye surgery will focus on the retina itself, creating small burns in the retina to address the abnormal blood vessels caused by diabetic retinopathy.
Diabetic retinopathy is not something to become distressed about. A lot of diabetic patients who develop diabetic retinopathy do not even need treatment, and they don’t even notice changes in their eyesight. But as with any other area of health and medicine, preventive care is always the ideal approach to it. If you are seeing your optometrist frequently (about once a year), he or she can check for this condition and advise recommended procedures if necessary.
Diabetic Exams at Lexington Family Eye Care
Our office at Lexington Family Eye Care is set up to meet all of your eye care needs in a comfortable and peaceful setting. Our owner, Dr. Christopher Shewan has over 15 years of experience working in multiple eye care settings. Our founder, Dr. Bruce Bachelder has been practicing optometry since the 1970s and still works at Lexington Family Eye Care under Dr. Shewan.
We aim to provide family services to a family community. Our primary goal as an optometric clinic is to prevent harmful ocular conditions from forming by practicing preventive optometry. That is why we encourage regular, annual eye exams for all of our patients. If you are seeking eye care services for yourself or one of your family members, don’t hesitate to call our offices today. It all starts with a quick and easy eye exam with one of our friendly and neighborly eye doctors.
FREE Consultation Today!
Mon, Tues and Thurs: 8-5
Closed for lunch: 12-1
Saturday: by appointment only
35 Plymouth St
Lexington, OH 44904