detect early signs of diabetic eye disease

Diabetic Eye Exam

detect early signs of diabetic eye disease

Diabetic Eye Exam

Diabetic Eye Exam

People with diabetes are at increased risk for serious eye diseases and require special care to protect their vision and eye health. A diabetic eye exam is part of a comprehensive eye exam performed by a qualified optometrist. These exams detect early signs of diabetic eye disease and ensure timely treatment before significant damage occurs.

  • If you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, it is crucial to see an eye doctor for regular diabetic eye exams to detect the earliest stages of diabetic eye disease. Individuals with diabetes should schedule an exam at least once a year or as recommended by their eye doctor.
  • Diagnosed diabetics are required to have an annual dilated eye exam. On the other hand, if you are an undiagnosed diabetic, an annual dilated eye exam will identify the issue. Then, with the help of your physician, you can take appropriate steps to minimize the impact on your health.
  • At Giles Eye Care, our eye care professionals specialize in diabetic eye exams and treating diabetic eye disease. We offer comprehensive eye exams to spot early warning signs of diseases and eye issues that can cause serious damage if left unchecked. We then work with you to develop treatment plans customized to your specific needs.

What is diabetic eye disease?

Diabetic eye disease occurs when blood sugar is too high and causes blood vessel problems. In the short term, high blood sugar is unlikely to cause vision loss. However, if your blood sugar stays high over time, it can damage blood vessels in the back of the eye. These blood vessels can leak fluid and cause swelling. New abnormal blood vessels can also form, leading to scarring or dangerously high eye pressure.

Diabetic eye disease refers to a range of conditions that can impact people with diabetes, including diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, diabetic macular edema, and glaucoma. These diseases can lead to blurred vision and blindness and often have no symptoms in the early stages.

Diabetic retinopathy

Most people with diabetes develop diabetic retinopathy over the course of their lives. Diabetic retinopathy is a serious eye condition that can cause severe vision loss or even complete blindness in people with diabetes. It occurs when high blood sugar levels cause damage to blood vessels in the retina.

In the early stages, people may have no signs of diabetic retinopathy. They may not experience any vision changes until blood vessels bleed into the vitreous (the gel-like fluid that fills the eye).

The longer you have diabetes, the higher your risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. Another cause for concern with diabetic retinopathy is pregnancy. If you have diabetes and get pregnant or develop diabetes while pregnant (gestational diabetes), you are at high risk of developing diabetic retinopathy and should see an eye doctor regularly.


Cataracts are a common eye condition that occurs when the lens of the eye becomes cloudy or opaque, resulting in blurred vision and increased sensitivity to light. While cataracts are very common as people get older, they can happen at an earlier age and more frequently in diabetic patients than in people who don’t have diabetes.

Diabetic macular edema

Diabetic macular edema is a complication of diabetes caused by fluid build-up in the macula (the part of the retina responsible for clear, sharp central vision). This fluid can cause swelling (edema) in the macula and lead to vision problems or even blindness.


Glaucoma, also known as the “silent thief of vision,” is a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve and result in vision loss with little or no pain or symptoms in the early stages. Regular comprehensive eye exams help detect glaucoma early on when it is most successfully treated. People who suffer from diabetes have an increased risk of developing glaucoma.

Diagnosing diabetic eye disease

Our team of expert eye care professionals uses their expertise and advanced diagnostic technology to detect diabetic eye disease in its earliest stages.

A diabetic eye exam requires pupil dilation for a clear view of your retina, optic nerve, and the blood vessels in the back of your eye. In some cases, your eye doctor may also use Optical Coherence Tomography to create three-dimensional images of the blood vessels in your eyes.

Preventing diabetic eye disease

If you have diabetes, talk to your primary care doctor about managing your blood sugar levels. Uncontrolled high blood sugar damages blood vessels in the retina and causes severe vision loss.

Even if you feel your vision is fine, you should schedule regular eye exams since many diseases have no symptoms in the beginning stages. Our eye care experts are here to help you manage your symptoms and prevent vision loss. Schedule an appointment with Giles Eye Care for a comprehensive diabetic eye exam today.