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What Is A Diabetic Eye Exam And Why Is It Important?

Diabetes is a disease that profoundly affects many areas of your body, including your eyes. Having too much blood sugar in your body can damage the blood vessels in the retina, which is the light-sensitive tissue that lines the back of your eye. High blood sugar levels cause these vessels to swell and leak into the retina, causing blind spots and blurred vision. This condition is called diabetic retinopathy and can affect those with type 1 and 2 diabetes. By visiting your optometrist for regular comprehensive eye exams and adopting lifestyle changes to manage diabetes, you can prevent the development of diabetic retinopathy. 

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The Importance Of A Diabetic Eye Exam

Eye disease is a common complication of diabetes, which can lead to vision problems and permanent blindness. If you have diabetes, you are at an increased risk of developing eye disease. By visiting your optometrist for regular comprehensive diabetic eye exams, you will have a better indication of your overall health. A comprehensive diabetic eye exam will search for signs of common eye diseases and problems associated with diabetes, such as:

  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma

Most diabetic patients will not notice the development of these eye diseases until their vision starts to change. Unfortunately, once these vision changes occur, they are not reversible. Stay proactive about your health and visit your optometrist today to receive an eye exam.

To find out more about how our eye doctors can help protect your vision and prevent you from developing diabetic retinopathy or any other eye diseases, visit our Calgary eye clinic at 3625 Shaganappi Trail NW (Next to Milestones) Calgary, Alberta, T3A 0E2.
Alternatively, you can contact us at 403-286-4884 or fill in our online contact form.

With regular comprehensive diabetic eye exams, your optometrist will be able to diagnose diabetic eye disease at an early stage. Treatment at this stage can often prevent vision loss. Looking at the blood vessels in your eye will also indicate how diabetes is affecting other parts of your body.

What Can I Expect During A Diabetic Eye Exam?

Your optometrist will perform the same visual acuity tests as they would during a regular eye exam. They will use a retinol camera or perform a dilated retinal exam to check the health of your eyes. During a dilated retinal exam, your doctor will place special eye drops in your eye to dilate the eyes to allow your doctor to accurately see the back of your eye and check for possible signs of diabetic retinopathy. Your doctor will look for:

  • Fatty deposits
  • Swelling
  • Damage to the nerve tissue
  • Leaky blood vessels
  • Changes in the blood vessels or lens

How Often Should You Get A Diabetic Eye Exam?

The Canadian Diabetic Association recommends the following guidelines:

  • Patients with type 2 diabetes should get a comprehensive diabetic eye exam as soon as possible once they have been diagnosed and at least once every year in the future.
  • Patients who are pregnant and have type 1 or 2 diabetes are recommended to visit their optometrist for an exam annually
  • Patients with type 1 diabetes require a comprehensive diabetic exam within 5 years of being diagnosed and should be screened annually after that.

Almost 20% of patients diagnosed with diabetes already have eye problems, so it is extremely important to receive an early comprehensive diabetic eye exam to prevent the development of diabetic retinopathy and other eye diseases.

How You Can Reduce The Risk Of Developing Diabetic Retinopathy

The first and most important step to prevent diabetic retinopathy is by visiting your optometrist for regular comprehensive diabetic eye exams. Eye exams will give you an indication of how diabetes is affecting your overall health and can provide information to start early treatments for any eye diseases before you experience any vision problems. 
To reduce your risk of eye disease, be sure to:

  • Work with your general practitioner to control your blood sugar levels, cholesterol, and blood pressure
  • Maintain a healthy weight through proper diet and exercise
  • Avoid smoking

Be Proactive About Your Health And Book A Diabetic Eye Exam Today!

When it comes to scheduling regular health check-ups, eye exams are often overlooked. Our team of experienced eye doctors at Market Mall Optometry understands just how important regular eye exams are for your overall health, especially for detecting early signs of diabetic retinopathy. We offer comprehensive optometry services including diabetic eye exams that will ensure your eyes are well taken care of.  Contact our team today by calling (403)-286-4884 or book your appointment online.


How long is a diabetic eye exam?
A diabetic eye exam will take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. It will depend on what tests your doctor performs as well as what your eye care needs are.

Are eye exams painful?
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. 

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


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Our knowledgable and professional staff can answer all your questions. Call us today at 403-286-4884 or fill out the form below:

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