Eye Exams: Finding Diabetes Warning Signs

Young woman is being examined of her eyesight by optometrist

Did you know that eye exams often provide the earliest chance of detecting diabetes at its onset? (Blurry vision can be a warning sign for type 1 or type 2 diabetes, although some with type 2 may not have this symptom. This is temporary, and vision will return to normal once blood sugars are under control.)

Be sure to schedule regular preventive eye check-ups.

  • For those who have had type 1 diabetes for five years, that means once a year for a dilated exam. (Eye drops dilate the pupils, causing them to widen and allow in more light for a better view of the eye by a doctor for diagnosis.)
  • Those with type 2 diabetes should also get an annual dilated exam.
  • Persons who have not been diagnosed with diabetes should get an eye exam either annually or every two years, depending on their doctor’s recommendation.
  • Pregnant women should be sure to see their eye doctor during their first three months of pregnancy: An ob-gyn can help determine risk factors for developing gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy), which can temporarily raise blood sugar levels and complicate delivery. Having gestational diabetes also puts those expecting at risk for type 2 diabetes — which may get detected during an eye screening.

Eye diseases related to diabetes include cataracts, or clouding of the eye’s lens; glaucoma, or increased fluid pressure in the eye, causing optic nerve damage and sometimes vision loss; and diabetic retinopathy, or damage to the retina’s blood vessels (the leading cause of blindness in American adults).

By Lisa Miceli Feliciano

Sources include: www.aao.org, www.diabetes.org

 

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