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It is essential for patients with diabetes to get regular eye exams. Diabetes is a serious disease that can lead to other conditions and complications, including diabetic eye disease. Here are some frequently asked questions about diabetic eye exams.
Diabetic eye disease encompasses a few different eye problems, including:
Because most diabetic patients won’t know if they have diabetic retinopathy until the condition is severe, regular eye exams are crucial to prevent worsening vision and protect eye health.
The doctor you see for your diabetes may be able to perform a diabetic eye exam in the office if they have the right equipment. However, if your primary care provider suspects something serious, he or she may refer you to an eye specialist for additional testing or treatment.
Diabetic exams can be performed by:
If you are diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy, you will need to see an ophthalmologist.
Before checking for signs of diabetic retinopathy, your doctor may test your visual acuity (your ability to see at various distances—this is often done using a letter chart). S/he will then examine your eyes using a special retinal camera or by performing a dilated retinal exam.
During a dilated eye exam, your doctor will place drops in your eye to widen (dilate) the eyes. This allows your doctor to better see the back of your eye and look for possible signs of diabetic retinopathy:
You may experience blurry vision for several hours after the dilated exam and will be instructed to protect your eyes from sunlight.
The American Diabetes Association recommends the following guidelines for diabetic eye exams:
Most health insurance plans cover the cost of a diabetic eye exam in full. Although it is important to remember that health insurance is different from vision insurance.
Health insurance provides coverage on eye care that relates to a medical condition like glaucoma or diabetic retinopathy. Vision insurance provides coverage for vision needs such as glasses or contacts, which health insurance does not cover. Your doctor or a benefits representative may be able to help you better understand what will be covered.
Eye exams are important for everybody, but they are especially important for those with diabetes. Schedule an eye exam if you have not had one within the last year.
Revere Health Ophthalmology offers patients the best in eye care from the treatment of eye-related diseases and conditions to prescribing glasses and contacts.
“CT scan (How you prepare).” The Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/ct-scan/basics/how-you-prepare/prc-20014610
“Positron emission tomography scan (How you prepare).” The Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/pet-scan/details/how-you-prepare/ppc-20319717
“MRI (How you prepare).” The Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/mri/details/how-you-prepare/ppc-20235719
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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.