Patients with a diagnosis of diabetes should have an eye exam at least once per year. The eye truly is the “window” into health, because vascular change and damage that can occur silently in the body can be directly visualized in an eye exam. The state of blood vessels in the eye represents the state of blood vessels throughout the body. If you have diabetes, and or hypertension, yearly eye exams can prove invaluable as supporting information in gauging your cardiovascular health.
The most serious eye complication from diabetes is retinopathy. In diabetic retinopathy vessels in the eye can become leaky. Fluid that leaks out of the vessels damages underlying retina tissue. Additionally, decrease blood flow to the eye (due to vascular damage) can cause a state of hypoxia which leads to the growth of unwanted vessels. This form of diabetic retinopathy is called Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy and can lead to sight threatening consequences including hemorrhage in the eye and retinal detachments.
When it comes to diabetic eye disease, the best medicine is prevention. Many patients with a diagnosis of diabetes have reversed disease and come off of medications by choosing a healthy lifestyle of proper nutrition and exercise. It is possible. For those who have tried to reverse their disease, but continue to have diabetes, EARLY detection is of great importance in avoiding the unfortunate consequences of diabetic eye disease. For this reason, regular, yearly exams are essential.
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