How Is a Diabetic Eye Exam Different From a Regular Eye Exam?
The 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
- 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