Diabetic Eye Exams in New Orleans
Our optometrists offer annual exams for patients with diabetes that can help detect and prevent serious eye conditions.
One American age 20 or older is diagnosed with diabetes every 19 seconds, and both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can lead to many serious health problems, including eye conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy.
Because many eye conditions associated with diabetes do not cause initial symptoms, it is important to schedule a comprehensive eye exam at least once a year.
Early Detection Is Essential
Diabetes-related eye conditions can often be treated effectively. Early treatment of diabetic retinopathy (DR) can reduce the risk of blindness by 95%. Eye dilation, which allows us a closer look at the retina, is a critical part of a diabetic eye exam and should be done every year.
DR is one the most common forms of diabetic eye disease, and occurs when diabetes affects the blood vessels in the eye. Common symptoms of DR include:
• Blurred vision
• Inconsistent vision or fluctuations in your vision
• Spots or stringy “floaters” in the vision
• Inability to see color
• Vision loss
• Double vision.
During the early stages of DR, the blood vessels in the retina begin leaking blood and fluid, which may damage the retina and cause changes in vision. In the latter stages of the disease, the retinal blood vessels close off and new vessels begin to grow but may bleed and damage the retina by causing it to pull away from the back of the eye (retinal detachment).
People with diabetes are also twice as likely to develop cataracts, which is a clouding of the eye’s natural lens. Some of the symptoms of cataracts are dimmed vision, yellowing of the eyes, needing brighter light to read, or noticing halos around lights.
The risk of developing glaucoma is also twice as high in diabetics. With many people having no warning signs, measuring the pressure of the eyes each year is the best way to monitor for the disease.
Diabetes, Pregnancy, and Monitoring Your Eye Health
For those with diabetes, pregnancy can increase the risk of development and progression of diabetic retinopathy, particularly during the second trimester through 12 months postpartum. Women with type 1 diabetes are especially vulnerable to ocular changes during pregnancy.
Pregnancy can affect visual acuity, even in the healthiest of us, so we do recommend on holding off getting new glasses or contacts until after the birth of your baby. Some vision blurriness can be normal, and most times resolves postpartum. During and after pregnancy, schedule an appointment with your optometrist so that any changes are documented.
What to Expect During Your Exam
Regular checkups with an eye doctor can detect eye disease early and prevent blindness. Our New Orleans optometrists will provide a comprehensive exam to evaluate the health of your eyes, detect any signs of disease, and answer all of your questions about protecting your vision long-term.
Our diabetic eye exams include:
- Checking your vision by asking you to read letters on an eye chart.
- Checking your peripheral vision and ocular muscle movement.
- Examining the front of your eyes with specialized lights and lenses.
- Checking the pressure inside your eyes with an instrument known as a tonometer, which can help detect early signs of glaucoma.
- Dilating your pupils, which provides a better view of the retina, and examining the back of your eyes and the blood vessels in the retina that can become damaged by diabetic retinopathy.
- Conducting digital retinal imaging to monitor signs of diabetic eye disease to determine rate of progression or stability of the disease.
- Communication to the primary care physician that is managing your diabetes.