How Is a Diabetic Eye Exam Different From a Regular Eye Exam? By GW Eye Associates on April 28, 2022

A picture of the retina and blood vessels in the eyeThe optometrists at GW Eye Associates provide comprehensive vision care for residents in La Jolla, Carmel Valley, and San Diego, CA. With diverse procedures and life-changing treatments, you’ll see why exceptional vision care is our top priority.

Sometimes, providing exceptional vision care requires addressing other systemic conditions, like diabetes, during a routine exam. Here, our optometrists explain how a diabetic eye exam is different from a regular eye exam, why they are so important, and when to get them.

Regular Eye Exam vs. Diabetic Eye Exam

In general, an eye exam will assess your vision and check the internal structures of your eyes. Our team accomplishes this by testing your visual acuity, eye pressure, depth and color perception, and muscular function.

Patients with diabetes will undergo the same tests, but our team will focus primarily on their ocular blood vessels, retinas, and optic nerves. This is because diabetes constricts ocular blood vessels, which can damage the retinas and optic nerves. When this happens, the lack of blood flow and resulting damage can cause vision issues such as:

  • Blurry vision
  • Glaucoma
  • Cataracts
  • Diabetic retinopathy

Diabetics who ignore the symptoms of diabetic eye damage may develop significant issues, particularly vision loss. Routine diabetic eye exams prevent irreversible eye damage by detecting and treating issues early.

How Often Should I Get a Diabetic Eye Exam?

Whether it’s type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, or gestational diabetes, patients with diabetes are at a heightened risk of ocular complications and damage. The American Diabetes Association recommends that diabetics visit their eye doctors yearly to prevent disease and dysfunction.

Here are some guidelines to help you make the best choice for you and your health:

  • Type 1 diabetes: You should schedule a diabetic eye exam within a 5-year window of your initial diagnosis.
  • Type 2 diabetes: You must schedule a diabetic eye exam immediately. Many patients with type 2 diabetes have been unknowingly living with the condition for years. This means that some type 2 diabetics already have extensive ocular damage at the time of their diagnosis, making a diabetic eye exam even more urgent.
  • Gestational diabetes: Pregnant women with diabetes should schedule an eye exam within the first trimester of their pregnancy. They should also have a follow-up appointment one year postpartum.

What Our Eye Care Specialists Can Do for You

As a general rule, patients with or without diabetes should be visiting our La Jolla optometrists every year. If our team notices changes in your vision, we may recommend you to a specialist for further treatment and testing. We can also schedule eye exams with increasing regularity to prevent worsening eye conditions in the future.

Schedule a Diabetic Eye Exam Today

Diabetic eye exams keep your eyes healthy so you can continue to see your life in full. At GW Eye Associates, we can detect and treat diabetes-related eye conditions, including diabetic retinopathy. If you’re due for a diabetic eye exam, then don’t delay–schedule your appointment online here, or call one of our two locations at your earliest convenience:

  • Del Mar office: (858) 755-9465
  • La Jolla office: (858) 454-4699

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GW Eye Associates

Our team at GW Eye Associates in La Jolla and Del Mar can provide a wide range of high-quality eye care services. Dr. Gordon G. Wong and Dr. Wildon C. Wong have over 45 years of combined experience and belong to several prestigious organizations, including:

  • American Academy of Ophthalmology
  • American Optometric Association

For more information about our services, contact our office online or call us at (858) 454-4699 today.

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