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The Role Of Optometry In Diabetes Care

The Role Of Optometry In Diabetes Care

Diabetes refers to a group of conditions that affects how the body uses blood sugar. There are 2 types of diabetes: type 1 diabetes is a genetic condition where the pancreas makes inadequate levels of insulin, which affects how glucose enters the cells to create energy. This type of diabetes is often diagnosed when a person is quite young as they are born with the condition. Type 2 diabetes is a developed form of this condition. People with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy, a condition that affects retina health and can damage vision. Because diabetes can compromise eye health, optometrists use diabetic eye exams to monitor diabetic retinopathy.

Optometry And Diabetes

Diabetes And The Eyes
When a person has diabetes, they are at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. This condition is caused by high levels of blood sugar that affect the blood vessels in the eye. When the blood vessels in the retina become blocked, the eye attempts to grow new blood vessels that are often abnormal and leak. People with diabetic retinopathy are at risk of developing glaucoma, retinal detachment, vitreous hemorrhage, or other conditions that can result in blindness. Diabetic retinopathy can affect vision in a variety of ways, including blurred vision, double vision, or seeing flashes or floaters. Learn more by reading 3 Main Ways Diabetes Can Impact Your Vision.

Eye exams and optometry care are an important part of health care that should be an annual or biannual (depending on your age) part of your life. Some people aren’t aware that they have diabetes until they come in for a regular eye exam and their optometrist sees signs of diabetic retinopathy. And this doesn’t only occur with diabetes: regular eye exams can help detect early signs of a variety of underlying health conditions.

Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment
The main treatment for diabetic retinopathy is managing diabetes. By controlling your blood sugar, you can save the blood vessels in your eyes from weakening or from becoming blocked. Because of this, if you have been diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy, your optometrist and your general practitioner may need to be in communication to develop a diabetes management plan. Your optometrist will need to be informed about any medication you are on for your diabetes as well as your general diet and exercise routine. You will need regular optometry care through eye exams to monitor your diabetic retinopathy and to track any progression of this condition.

The field of optometry has developed various treatment methods that can help slow the progression of vision loss from diabetic retinopathy. To stop leaking blood vessels, an optometrist may use intraocular injections of anti-VEGF therapy or laser therapy to cauterize the blood vessels. Retinal surgery is also an option.

If you have diabetes, the key to preventing diabetic retinopathy is to take steps to lower your risk for this condition. Being proactive can help prevent eye conditions or can help to catch them early so that their development can be slowed. Read 5 Simple Tips to Lower Your Risk of Diabetic Eye Disease to learn more about preventative measures and ensure you book annual eye exams to monitor your eye health.


Optometry Care For Diabetes

Even people who have their diabetes well controlled can still suffer damage to their eye health because of diabetic retinopathy. The only way to know how diabetes is affecting your eye health before it starts to affect your vision is with regular diabetic eye exams from a trusted optometrist. At Market Mall Optometry in NW Calgary, our optometrists can monitor your eye health and work with you to develop a diabetes management plan. To schedule an eye exam at Market Mall Optometry, call 1-403-286-4884 or fill out the online contact form.



Q: If I manage my blood sugar, will I be guaranteed not to develop diabetic retinopathy?
A: Unfortunately no. While managing your diabetes is a good way to lower your risk of developing diabetic retinopathy, this condition can still develop when blood sugar levels are controlled.

Q: Is diabetic retinopathy curable?
A: No, it is not. There are treatments that can be administered to prevent, delay, or reduce vision loss.

Q: Are eye exams painful?
A: Most of the tests are non-contact so they will not cause you any pain. You may feel slight discomfort from holding your eyes open for longer periods.

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