Retinal Screening for Diabetics
Retinal screening for diabetics helps prevent vision loss and blindness due to diabetic retinopathy, which usually has no early warning symptoms.
Eye disease can be a complication of diabetes resulting in cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma. The most common eye disease for diabetics is diabetic retinopathy and is the leading cause of blindness in American adults today.
Diabetic Retinopathy often goes undetected because there are no symptoms until the disease has progressed. Over time, the retinal blood vessels change due to chronically high blood sugar, causing the vessels to bleed or leak fluid. The leaking of fluid will eventually distort the diabetic’s vision leading to blindness if not treated.
Since most diabetics do not have symptoms until the disease has progressed, it is critical to have your retinas screened every two years to look for damage.
A retinal exam uses a machine to take a picture of the retina in both eyes. This image is used to check the optic nerve and blood vessels. The imaging of the eyes takes only ten minutes and can be done without seeing a provider if you are an established patient.
After the images are taken, they are sent to an ophthalmology group to be read. The report is then returned to your provider who will share the results with you and provide any additional steps.
Anyone who has developed diabetes is at risk for diabetic eye disease, especially diabetic retinopathy. The longer you have had diabetes the greater the risk of developing eye disease. It is estimated that 40-45 percent of Americans with diabetes have some stage of diabetic retinopathy. Since there are no early warning signs, everyone with diabetes should be screened, including women who develop diabetes during pregnancy.
We often send messages about the importance of regular check-ups for preventative health care and it’s for a good reason. Whether it’s a quarterly exam, an annual check-up, or routine blood work, conducting these check-ups allows us to see any potential issues and provide treatment right away. This is especially important if you have diabetes.
Diabetes affects more than your insulin levels; it can also damage your eyes. For this reason, we recommend getting a retinal screening every two years to make sure your eyes are healthy. Your doctor may recommend the exam yearly if there are any signs of damage to the optic nerve or blood vessels.
You may be thinking right now that you already had an eye exam at an optometrist so you are covered. Although regular eye exams are important, they don’t always show the whole picture. A retinal screening can detect damage early on so your doctor can recommend proper care for your eyes and help prevent eye surgery later.
To schedule an appointment for this or any other concerns you may have, call our office today at 480-831-8457 and we will assist you in scheduling an appointment.