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Diabetes significantly increases the risk for eye diseases and vision loss, primarily as a result of damage to the small blood vessels inside the eyes. Diabetes is a major cause of blindness in people between the ages of 20 and 74, which makes regular eye exams especially important for anyone with the disease.
There are four primary eye diseases associated with diabetes:
Diabetic eye diseases can be diagnosed with a comprehensive eye exam to assess vision problems and to evaluate the structures of the eye. Special eyedrops are used to dilate the eye so the retina and the optic nerve head can be clearly seen and evaluated. Computer scanning technology is also used in optometry to obtain highly detailed images of the retina, which can be very useful in diagnosing retinopathy and macular edema.
One of the most important ways an optometrist can help is by performing regular comprehensive eye exams. If you have diabetes, whether or not an eye disease has been diagnosed, you should have a comprehensive eye exam every year. For people who have a diabetes-related eye disease, treatment will be tailored to suit the specific disease. Glaucoma can be managed with eye drops or oral medications to decrease pressure inside the eye, and people with cataracts may improve mild symptoms with magnifying lenses or glasses that help prevent glare. Some patients with cataracts may be able to have their natural lenses surgically removed and replaced with artificial lenses, but other patients with retinopathy may not be good candidates for cataract surgery.
Dr. Dorothy Park & Associates is a leading optometry practice in Columbia, SC, providing comprehensive exams and care options for patients with diabetic eye diseases. Diabetic eye diseases often cause few symptoms in their earliest stages, and having routine eye exams is critical for preventing vision loss. To schedule your eye exam, call the office today at (803) 254-6306.