Clarkson Eyecare is staffed with highly skilled eye doctors who use the latest technology to conduct comprehensive eye exams for people with diabetes. People with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are at higher risk of developing certain eye diseases which is why it’s imperative for people with diabetes to get annual comprehensive eye exams. Our eye doctors diagnose and treat a variety of diabetic eye diseases, which are the leading cause of permanent blindness in adults.
Clarkson Eyecare has diabetic eye care specialists at our locations in Missouri, Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Texas, New Jersey, Virginia, Georgia, and Florida. Click to find a location near you.
Can Diabetes Be Diagnosed with an Eye Exam?
Eye doctors are often the first health professionals to detect undiagnosed diabetes in their patients. Diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, and other diabetic eye diseases can be diagnosed through a comprehensive eye examination. Comprehensive eye exams can lead to the early detection of diabetes through the evaluation of blood vessels, optic nerves, and other complex eye structures. Your eyes can provide important clues about conditions that pose serious risks to your health. A standard vision screening only measures an individual’s sight and does not facilitate the discovery of diabetes or other serious diseases.
How Often Should Diabetics Schedule Eye Exams?
Diabetes-related eye conditions often do not present symptoms until significant damage has been caused to a patient’s eyes. Experts recommend that people with Type 1 diabetes should have their first eye exam within five years of being diagnosed and those with Type 2 diabetes are encouraged to have an exam right away. Type 2 diabetics may have had diabetes for a while without knowing it, and their eyesight could already be affected. This is why these individuals should schedule an appointment immediately.
What Can a Patient Expect During a Diabetic Eye Exam?
Eye exams for patients with diabetes are performed by Clarkson Eyecare’s optometrists that specialize in diabetic eye care. The main goal during the exam is to check for any abnormalities or changes in the retina, optic nerve, and other parts of the eye that can be affected by diabetes. Early detection of diabetic eye disease can significantly improve the patient’s prognosis. Diabetic eye exams involve a variety of tests and procedures that can detect eye problems and preserve a patient’s vision. Learn more about the process and diabetic eye exam below.
Visual Acuity & Refraction Testing
Much like a standard eye exam, diabetic patients are presented with an eye chart test to assess visual clarity. The optometrists may also perform a refraction test to assess for refractive errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism and the results will be compared to a patient’s previous exams to check for significant changes in vision associated with diabetic eye disease.
Dilated Eye Exam & Ophthalmoscopy
The next part of the exam typically includes the dilation of a patient’s pupils using special eye drops. Dilation allows the doctor to view the back of the eyes in more detail during ophthalmoscopy. Using a special instrument, such as an ophthalmoscope or a slit lamp, the eye care specialist can focus bright light on the retina. This examination allows the doctor to determine if a patient has retinal damage, blockages, or swelling caused by diabetic eye disease.
Another test that may be administered during a diabetic exam is called fluorescein angiography, which can reveal structural and functional changes of the retinal blood vessels. During this test, the eye specialist will inject a fluorescent dye into a patient’s veins and photograph the retinas as the dye enters the vessels. This diagnostic procedure is often recommended to monitor the progression and treatment of diseases, such as diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration.
Diabetes doubles a patient’s risk for developing glaucoma compared to non-diabetics. During a diabetic eye exam, the doctor will likely measure the pressure inside a patient’s eye, calculate the angle between the iris and cornea, and examine the optic nerve while performing the ophthalmoscopic exam to check for signs of glaucoma. Vision impairment and blindness caused by glaucoma cannot be reversed and screening for the disease in diabetic patients is critical.
Clarkson Eyecare recommends anyone with diabetes schedule an annual comprehensive eye exam. Routine eye exams are a vital part of your overall health and many eye conditions have no symptoms before they become serious. By scheduling yearly preventative eye care from our optometrists, we can detect, help prevent, diagnose, and treat diabetic eye conditions that can result in vision loss. Schedule an appointment for a diabetic eye exam today!
While a referral is not necessary, Clarkson Eyecare recommend that a patient request a referral from a primary care physician or optometrist before scheduling. A referral ensures that a patient is seen by the appropriate specialist for his or her condition.
Insurance providers may also require a referral before covering a diabetic eye exam.
Our eye doctors coordinate with primary care physicians and ophthalmologists to share important details about a patient’s health.
Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers eye exams for diabetic retinopathy once each year and a patient pays 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for the eye care service and the applicable copayment. Depending on eligibility, Medicaid vision care covers eye exams and glaucoma testing. These preventative eye care services are fully covered or offered at low costs for recipients. TRICARE covers routine eye exams and only members of TRICARE Prime are covered for diabetic eye exams once a year.
The pupils typically remain dilated for about two to three hours, extending beyond the time of a diabetic eye exam. Dilation impairs eyesight by preventing the eyes from adjusting to bright light and a patient should decide whether to drive based on the effects experienced from pupil dilation and the driving conditions present after an exam. Clarkson Eyecare optometrists recommend that patients arrange for someone to drive them home or bring a pair of sunglasses to their appointment.