If you have recently been diagnosed with diabetes, you were probably given a laundry list of items to complete. Along with making big changes to your diet and exercise routine, you were probably told to make an appointment with an eye doctor. An annual diabetic eye exam is an important part of managing your diabetes, but few people really understand how diabetes can affect their vision. We at Summit Eyecare serving Pocatello, ID, St. Anthony, ID Rexburg, ID, Idaho Falls, ID, know a lot about diabetic eye exams.
How a Diabetic Eye Exam Works
Diabetes is a condition in which the body cannot regulate the amount of sugar in the bloodstream. While a typical body will rely on insulin secreted from the pancreas to break down sugar, in a diabetic person this process is broken. The result is that extra sugar is carried in the bloodstream.
This excess sugar causes the blood to become thicker, increasing the overall volume of blood. The heart must work harder to pump this thicker blood, increasing blood pressure. At the same time, blood vessels will expand in order to make up for the increase in volume.
A constant increase in blood pressure and the size of blood vessels has a lot of different health effects on the body. While your primary care physician has probably talked about a lot of these with you, the effect that increased blood pressure and blood vessel size has on your eyes can be very serious, but it is rarely talked about.
As the blood vessels that surround the eyes increase in size and pressure, they put pressure on the surrounding tissues and nerves. In the most severe cases, the blood vessels will put pressure on the optic nerve, interfering with the visual data that the optic nerve is able to send to the brain.
At the start of this, a person will likely experience headaches and blurry visions. If this goes untreated, the symptoms will progress to the point that the person has blind spots in their field of vision.
Fortunately, an eye doctor on our team can help spot the early warning signs of this condition and recommended several different types of treatment. If caught early enough, symptoms can often be controlled through lifestyle changes or oral medication. More severe cases may require eye drops, while the most severe cases may require surgery to repair blood vessels.
Contact Us for a Diabetic Eye Exam from an Optometrist on Our Team
If you live in the (208-522-5594 for Merlin Dr. or 208-529-4333 for Pancheri Dr.) Idaho Falls, ID, (208-637-0841) Pocatello, ID, (208-356-0881) Rexburg, ID, (208-624-3231) St Anthony, ID, area and you need a diabetic eye exam, give one of our offices a call. An optometrist on our team can meet with you and answer questions you have about your eye health.