An image of a retina affected by diabetic retinopathy.
Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month
If you have diabetes, you may wonder why your primary care doctor or endocrinologist keeps reminding you to get a dilated eye exam even though your vision is doing just fine. November is Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month to remind us why these eye exams are important even when you aren’t having any vision problems.
Diabetes can cause several changes to our eyes. Uncontrolled blood sugar can cause a change in your eyeglasses prescription or lead to early cataract formation. Diabetes can also damage the retina, which is the structure in the eye responsible for converting light into a signal to send to the brain. When diabetes affects the retina, it is called diabetic retinopathy. During a dilated eye exam, your ophthalmologist can fully assess your eye health including checking for signs of diabetic retinopathy such as leakage of fluid into the retina (called macular edema) or bleeding.
The American Diabetes Association recommends that type 2 diabetics undergo a dilated eye exam once a year. These annual eye exams can result in earlier treatment that may help preserve your sight. If your diabetic retinopathy is more advanced, you may need to see your ophthalmologist more often for treatment such as laser, injections or possibly surgery.
Call Metro Eye Center today to schedule your dilated eye exam!
This post was written in part by Janice Maliakkal, a 4th year medical student at Paul L. Foster School of Medicine in El Paso, Texas