At Scarbrough Family Eyecare, we work closely with primary care physicians to help monitor and manage both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. A thorough eye exam allows our doctors to see the health of sensitive blood vessels inside the eye that can become damaged by diabetes. We also use state-of-the-art wide field retinal imaging to detect, document and monitor diabetic eye disease. We communicate regularly with our patient’s physician to assure continuity of care and treatment.

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How can diabetes harm my eyes?

You may not think of eye care as a necessary part of your health routine if you can see clearly without glasses and you don’t have any bothersome eye symptoms. However, eye care is especially important if you have diabetes. The disease increases your risk of developing serious eye conditions that can result in partial or complete vision loss.

The primary eye health risk for people with diabetes is diabetic retinopathy. This condition results from damaged blood vessels in your retina, the light-sensing innermost layer in your eye. You’re more likely to develop diabetic retinopathy if your blood sugar isn’t stabilized, and your risk increases the longer you have diabetes.

What happens at a diabetic eye checkup?

The best way to prevent diabetic eye complications is to get an annual eye exam, so your Scarbrough Family Eyecare doctor can detect any conditions before they become serious. Many eye conditions, including diabetic retinopathy, cause mild or no symptoms in their early stages. Often, more serious symptoms are a sign of irreversible damage to your vision.

Your diabetic health management should always include a comprehensive eye exam. Our doctors will ask about your diabetes history, including when you were diagnosed, what medications you take, the results of recent blood sugar and A1C tests, and any related symptoms you experience.

To look for diabetic retinopathy, our doctors may dilate your pupils using eye drops. This allows them to look at your retinas for changes or abnormalities.

How is diabetic retinopathy treated?

If you show signs of diabetic retinopathy, you’re referred to a retinal specialist. Your treatment for diabetic retinopathy depends on whether you have the nonproliferative (early) or proliferative (advanced) form of the disease. Treatments may include laser photocoagulation or intraocular injections of medication.