I Have Diabetes — How Often Should I Get My Eyes Checked?

Diabetes affects over 30 million people in the United States. If you don’t manage it properly, you may face diabetes complications that can lead to a whole host of health issues, including cardiovascular disease, kidney damage, and vision impairment. In fact, diabetes is one of the leading causes of blindness in adults.  

But frequent eye exams can catch diabetic eye disease, which is a group of eye conditions, early and help preserve your vision. At University Retina, our team of board-certified ophthalmologists and retina specialists use state-of-the-art equipment and techniques to ensure the health of your eyes and protect your vision.

How often you should get an eye exam if you have diabetes

If you’re newly diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, you should schedule a dilated eye exam within five years of diagnosis. After your initial exam, you should visit us at University Retina about once a year. If you have Type 2 diabetes, schedule an exam soon after your diagnosis and also see one of our eye specialists annually, unless your doctor recommends a different schedule. 

Many eye diseases have no early symptoms. That’s why it’s essential to see us regularly for a comprehensive dilated eye exam. In the early stages, many diseases only show up through an eye exam. 

How diabetes can affect your eyes

High blood sugar, which is the hallmark of unchecked diabetes, can increase your risk for many eye diseases. High blood sugar can lead to damage to the blood vessels in the back of your eye, even during prediabetes, when your blood sugar is high but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.

Damaged blood vessels can lead to leaky and swollen blood vessels. From these damaged blood vessels, new unhealthy blood vessels may grow. These blood vessel problems can lead to vision impairment and, eventually, blindness and eye diseases, including: 

These four eye diseases are the most common diabetic-related eye conditions. All can lead to blindness if not cared for early and properly. 

How to prevent and treat diabetic eye disease

The two most important things you can do to prevent diabetic eye disease is to keep your blood pressure in check and see your eye doctor regularly. Other lifestyle factors that can help you ward off eye disease include:

If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetic eye disease, our specialists at University Retina can treat your condition in many ways. Depending on your condition and symptoms, treatment options may include:

Call us at University Retina today, or request an appointment through our online system to learn more about how we can help you preserve your vision.

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