People with diabetes are at risk of developing changes in the eye known as diabetic retinopathy. Diabetes causes blood vessel changes throughout the body, and within the eye it can cause damage to the fine blood vessels within the retina, leading to bleeding, fluid leakage, swelling, vision loss and serious complications.
Regular eye check up is key to preventing vision loss and blindness from diabetic eye disease. At Eyecare Concepts, we take photographs of the back of your eyes as a standard part of our comprehensive eye test. These photos allow us to check your eye health in greater detail and we can compare photos between visits to determine if there are any visible changes over time. An optometrist can sometimes detect signs of diabetes even before a patient is aware they have the condition.
For people already diagnosed with diabetes — Type 1 or Type 2 — we recommend a diabetic eye health check up at least once a year, including a dilated retinal examination, which is when we put dilating eye drops in your eyes to open up the pupils so we can see more of the back of your eyes. We will also send a report of our findings to your family doctor or endocrinologist so they can better manage your diabetes. And, where necessary, we can refer you to an ophthalmologist (eye specialist) for treatment if there is significant diabetic retinopathy that requires further management.
A diabetic eye test takes around 45 minutes. We will assess your vision, check your glasses prescription, as well as thoroughly assessing your eye health. As dilating eye drops will be used, we recommend that you take public transport or bring a driver as driving immediately afterwards should be avoided due to potentially blurred vision and glare. It's also a good idea to bring a pair of sunglasses with you.