FAQs about Diabetic Eye Exam and Why They Are Important

Westchester Eyecare Center and your optometrist in Los Angeles, CA wants you to be aware of how essential it is that you have regular vision checkups, especially if you are a diabetic. We can answer all of your questions about treating eye problems for those who are diabetic. Here are some FAQs about a diabetic eye exam.

What is Diabetic Retinopathy?

If you have diabetes, the main reason we encourage you to have regular eye exams is so we can look for changes the blood vessels of your retinas. Such changes can be indicators of diabetic retinopathy, a condition that occurs due to extended exposure to high blood pressure. This can cause the walls of blood vessels in one’s eyes to weaken. The longer a person has diabetes and the greater their exposure to high blood glucose, the greater their risk of having Diabetic Retinopathy.

What are Some Signs of this Condition?

The earliest signs of diabetic retinopathy may be small white or red spots (microaneurysms) on one or both retinas.  These spots are actually tiny pouches of blood that often can only be seen by your eye doctor.

If these pouches leak, blurring of vision may occur requiring immediate treatment.

Should diabetic retinopathy cause damage near the macula, it often swells much like a bug bite. The swelling, or macular edema, is the most common reason for impaired vision in diabetic retinopathy.

Is Diabetic Retinopathy Permanent?

In its early stages, retinopathy is often temporary. If left unchecked the risks of abnormal blood vessels proliferating increases greatly. These new blood vessels are so fragile that they can rupture at a sneeze, a cough, or even while during your sleep. Scar tissue forms and tug at the retina adding to the potential for retinal detachment.

How is Diabetic Retinopathy Treated?

Diabetic retinopathy once led to blindness but now can be controlled through laser treatment that preserves vision in the macula, the most important part of the retina.

Sometimes a surgical procedure called a vitrectomy is indicated.

Medicine like ranibizumab and aflibercept are also often effective in treating diabetic retinopathy for people with diabetic macular edema.

Who Should Have a Diabetic Eye Exam?

The American Diabetes Association recommends that anyone over 10 years old who has Type 1 diabetes have a comprehensive eye examination within at least five years after they are diagnosed. People with Type 2 diabetes should have the same exam at least annually.

You can reach one of our many locations in Los Angeles, CA by calling us at (310) 670-1888. We proudly serve Silicon Beach, Playa Vista, Playa Del Ray, Westchester, Marina Del Rey, El Segundo, Manhattan Beach, Inglewood & Surrounding Areas.