Unfortunately, diabetes is the number one cause of blindness in the United States. People with diabetes are 25 times more likely to lose vision than those who are not diabetic, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. As soon as you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, you need to have a dilated eye exam at least once a year. At Elmquist Eye Group we perform a thorough retinal exam through dilated pupils to check for any diabetic complications including diabetic retinopathy.
Everyone who has diabetes is at risk for developing diabetic retinopathy, but not all diabetics do develop it. In the early stages, you may not notice any change in your vision. This is why annual exams are recommended even when symptoms are not present. Diabetic macular edema, which can lead to significant vision loss, can be detected with a scan of the macula called Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT). This scanning device is available in our Fort Myers office and is used to further evaluate patients with diabetic retinopathy.
Changes in glucose levels increase your risk of diabetic retinopathy, as does long-term diabetes. Diabetes can damage the blood vessels in your eyes causing them to leak which can cause vision loss.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, 95 percent of those with significant diabetic retinopathy can avoid substantial vision loss if they are treated in time. Diabetic retinopathy can be treated with laser to seal off leaking blood vessels and destroy new growth.
If you have diabetes and have not had a recent dilated eye exam, please call our office at 936-2020 to schedule this important appointment.