Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the way the body processes blood sugar known as glucose. It can cause the blood vessel lining to become fragile and prone to leakages. The eyes are the only place in your body where we can easily visualise each individual blood vessel without a layer of skin covering our view. This is why your GP is particularly interested in knowing the results of your regular, thorough diabetic eye test as it gives them a good indication on the blood vessel health all over your body.
When it comes to your eyes, diabetic damage in the retina is a risk to your vision so it’s important to be vigilant. As part of a diabetic eye examination we carefully examine all retinal blood vessels for signs of leakage or damage, known as Diabetic retinopathy. The smallest blood vessels are often the first to show signs of damage. Anatomically, these small vessels are in the outskirts of the eye which is the hardest area to visualise and often why a diabetic needs to have their pupils dilated with dilating therapeutic eyedrops. The side effect of these drops is blurred vision, making driving dangerous for several hours after your consultation.
Macula odema is caused by the leakage of serum and fluid from the blood vessels, causing swelling at the macula. Your macula is vital for maintaining clear vision as it’s the sweet spot on our retina that is responsible for our fine detail vision. Fluid leakage that results in swelling is a sign of poor diabetic control and a risk to vision and must be diagnosed, monitored carefully and treated.
No More Pupil Dilation Drops for most people
Custom EyeCare’s Zeiss Clarus provides a beautiful high definition, wide field view of the back of your eyes, without needing to dilate the pupils in most cases. This is especially important if you are diabetic. We use this imaging technology as a part of your routine diabetic eye test.
Our practice also has an OCT to look for diabetic changes at the macula. An OCT lets us detect early signs of macula disease for diabetics, commonly called diabetic macula odema.
To listen to Wes and Heidi explain more about Diabetes, watch this video:
If I have diabetes, how often do I need a diabetic eye test?
Your optometrist or doctor will make a recommendation based on your health, duration of disease, and diabetic control. At a minimum it is recommended that you have annual retinal examinations.
To make an appointment for a diabetic eye test please book here.