Diabetic Eye Exams

Diabetic Eye Exams

Make Eye Care Part Of Your Diabetes Management Plan

Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the body’s ability to produce or effectively use insulin. This can cause blood sugar to rise too high. Having unchecked high blood sugars can damage the eye over time.

Many diabetic eye diseases don’t have early signs and symptoms, making regular comprehensive eye exams a critical part of a diabetes management plan. Our optometrists are here to help protect your vision and keep your eyes as healthy as possible. Visit us for a diabetic eye exam.

Diabetes & Your Eyes

Diabetes can affect multiple parts of the body. Your eyes and your vision may also be vulnerable to diabetes complications.

The eye is filled with fluid and tiny blood vessels. Changes to your blood sugar levels can cause increased blood pressure and swelling of the eye’s tissues. Some people with diabetes notice blurred vision caused by this swelling when changing diabetes medication or tweaking their diabetes management plan. This symptom is often short-term and disappears when blood sugars stabilize.

Long-term damage can be caused when diabetes is left untended and blood sugar levels remain high over time. The blood vessels in the eye can become damaged or weakened, or new vessels can grow in place of the damaged ones. This can potentially lead to vision loss.

Common Diabetic Eye Conditions

Children are discovering the world around them at every moment. They build their understanding of their surroundings using all their senses, including their sight. Children’s eyes are developing rapidly, along with the rest of their bodies.

Visual cues help kids develop hand-eye coordination and take in the information taught in school. Did you know 80% of the material presented in a classroom is visual?

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy occurs when the blood vessels in the retina—which is the back of your eye—are damaged or weakened. The blood vessels may swell and leak. Occasionally, new, abnormal blood vessels grow in their place.

Damage caused by diabetic retinopathy includes:

  • An increase in floaters
  • Faded or washed out color vision
  • Blurry vision
  • Blank or dark spots
  • Poor night vision
  • Vision loss

These symptoms can be absent until the condition has progressed, making comprehensive exams critical for catching diabetic retinopathy early. The condition can be managed with regular diabetes care or through laser treatments, injections, or surgery.

Diabetic Macular Edema

The macula is the very center of the retina. It’s responsible for capturing the most detailed parts of your vision, like faces and writing. Diabetic macular edema occurs when blood vessels in the macula swell, weaken, and leak, leading to fluid buildup.

Diabetic macular edema symptoms include:

  • Distorted vision
  • Blurred vision
  • Wavy vision

Diabetic macular edema can be a side effect of diabetic retinopathy and can be caught during a diabetic eye exam. Treatments include injections, laser intervention, steroid treatment, surgery, and eye drops.


Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that affect the optic nerve. There are many types of glaucoma, some of which are caused by fluid pressure buildup. People with diabetes are twice as likely to develop glaucoma than those without diabetes.

Fortunately, your optometrist can use special tests, like dilated eye exams, to detect signs of glaucoma early.


Cataracts occur when the lens of the eye becomes clouded. They’re one of the most common eye conditions in America and are often brought on by aging. Diabetes increases your risk for developing cataracts, as the lens can be clouded by high blood sugar. People with diabetes are 2–5 times more likely to develop cataracts at a younger age.

With cataracts, visual symptoms can include:

  • Cloudiness
  • Blurriness
  • Double vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Faded color vision
  • Poor night vision

Your optometrist may prescribe stronger lenses to sharpen vision in the case of more mild cataracts. For more advanced cataracts, surgery can be done to remove the affected natural lens and replace it with an artificial one.

Diabetic Eye Disease Symptoms

You can be your own best ally in the quest for good health and wellness. Monitoring your vision is key to helping fight diabetic eye diseases. Though diabetic eye problems often have no symptoms until the damage is in its later stages, possible symptoms can include:

  • Burred or wavy vision
  • Floaters & flashes
  • Vision loss
  • Dark spots in your field of vision
  • Weak color vision
  • Unstable, changing vision

These may point to diabetic eye disease, but can also be symptoms of other eye conditions. Regardless, if you notice anything amiss with your vision, it’s always wise to get in touch with your optometrist for an expert opinion.

Our Diabetic Eye Exams

Our doctors are prepared to meet the needs of their patients with diabetes. We use specialized equipment during our diabetic eye exams to ensure your eyes, including your retinas, are healthy.

These tests may require pupil dilation, which can leave you with some blurry vision and light sensitivity for a few hours post-exam. Pupil dilation allows more light into the eye, letting your optometrist see more of the eye’s inner workings.

Optomap by Optos

Optomap by Optos is an ultra-widefield retinal imaging device that uses low-powered laser wavelengths to scan more area of the eye in greater detail. The image captured shows 200° or 82% of the retina, allowing our optometrists to have a fuller picture of your eye health

Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT)

Optical coherence tomography (more commonly called OCT) uses light waves to take images of the retina. This test allows our doctors to examine each layer of the retina in detail.

Keep An Eye On Your Diabetes

Reduce your risk of diabetic eye disease by following the diabetes management plan laid out by your healthcare team and following the ABCs of diabetes management.

Lower your risk of vision problems with regular diabetic eye exams. Visit StylEyes to keep watch on your ocular health.

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