At Kresie and Penzler we realize the ability to see is a gift that we often take for granted, That’s why it’s so important if you have diabetes to take care of your eyes and have them checked with a yearly eye exam. In many cases, early detection and treatment of eye problems can help you avoid permanent damage to your eyesight.

What to Expect
In a dilated eye exam, a few drops will be placed in each eye to widen the pupils. The doctor then will examine the back of your eye by looking through a special magnifying lens. This enables the doctor to identify and problems or early signs of disease – such as changes to the blood vessels – before you notice any changes in your vision. The exam only takes a few minutes, but your close-up vision may remain a little blurred for a few hours afterwards.

Crucial Care for Diabetes
Dilated eye exams are especially important for people who have been diagnosed with diabetes, because they are at high risk for vision problems. Nearly half of all people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes have some form of diabetic retinopathy, which potentially can lead to blindness. The good news is that finding and treating the problem early can prevent or delay blindness in 90 percent of cases.

Many people with diabetic retinopathy don’t realize they have the condition without an eye exam because it often causes no pain or symptoms in its early stages. However, if you experience any of the following warning signs, see your eye doctor right away:
• Blurred vision
• Flashes of light in your eyes
• Point or pressure in your eyes
• Black “spots” in your vision
• Rings around lights
• Sudden loss of vision

Bottom line? Don’t close your eyes to potential vision problems. Visit your eye doctor regularly for a dilated eye exam.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes and is caused by changes in the blood vessels inside the retina at the back of the eye. When blood vessels are damaged, they leak fluid or blood and may grow weak, brush-like branches and scar tissue. As a result, images that the retina sends to the brain can appear blurry or distorted.

What are the risk factors for diabetic retinopathy?
• You have type 1 diabetes
• You have type 2 diabetes
• You do not follow a strict diet
• You do not control your blood sugar levels

Reducing Your Risk
To reduce your risk or manage the disease, everyone with type 2 diabetes must be seen at least yearly by an ophthalmologist, Eye M.D., from the time of diabetes diagnosis. If you have been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, you should see an ophthalmologist yearly beginning five years after the time of diabetes diagnosis.

Maintaining strict control of your blood sugar and following a strict diet are essential to preventing diabetic retinopathy in patients with diabetes.

Regular medical eye exams can help prevent unnecessary vision loss. The American Academy of Ophthalmology now recommends that adults with no signs or risk factors for eye disease get a baseline eye disease screening at age 40 – the time when early signs of disease and changes in vision may occur. Based on the results of the initial screening, and Eye M.D. will prescribe the necessary intervals for follow-up exams.