Diabetic Eye Exam

Jacksonville, FL

For people with diabetes, maintaining good eye health is incredibly important. Diabetics are at a higher risk of developing eye diseases and require special care to protect their vision and eye health. At Hanna Eye Care in Jacksonville, we offer diabetic eye exams as a part of your comprehensive eye exam. These exams can detect diabetic eye disease early on when treatment is most effective. 

  • If you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, you should see an eye doctor at least once a year or as recommended by your eye doctor. Regular eye exams are the only way to catch early signs of diabetic eye disease so treatment can be started as soon as possible.  
  • Even if you haven’t been diagnosed with diabetes, regular eye exams are still critical to maintaining good eye health and catching eye diseases early. Sometimes, the eyes show signs of diabetes before you have any symptoms. By catching these changes early on, an eye doctor can help you get diagnosed and start treatment for diabetes as soon as possible. 
  • Our eye doctors, Dr. Hanna and Dr. Purdy, specialize in diabetic eye exams and treating diabetic eye disease. During a comprehensive eye exam, we will look for early warning signs of diseases and eye issues that can cause serious damage if left unchecked. We will then work with you to develop a treatment plan customized to your specific needs.    

What is diabetic eye disease?     

Diabetic eye disease is a group of complications that can affect people with diabetes. These diseases can lead to blurred vision and blindness and often have no symptoms in the early stages.   

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

Diabetic retinopathy     

Diabetic retinopathy is a serious eye condition that can cause vision loss or blindness in people with diabetes. It occurs when high blood sugar levels damage blood vessels in the retina, which is the part of the eye that senses light. 

In the early stages of diabetic retinopathy, you may have no symptoms. In fact, you may not notice any vision changes until the disease progresses and the blood vessels start to bleed into the vitreous (the gel-like fluid that fills the eye). 

If left untreated, this condition can lead to severe vision loss. The longer you have diabetes, the greater the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. If you are pregnant or develop gestational diabetes, you should see an eye doctor regularly to monitor your risk of diabetic retinopathy. 

Cataracts     

Cataracts occur when the lens of the eye becomes cloudy or opaque, causing blurry vision and increased sensitivity to light. While cataracts are more common as people age, diabetic patients may develop them at an earlier age and more frequently than those without diabetes. 

Diabetic macular edema    

Diabetic macular edema is a condition that can occur in people with diabetes and can lead to vision problems or even blindness. It happens when fluid builds up in the macula, which is responsible for clear, sharp central vision. The fluid can cause swelling, known as edema, and affect the functioning of the macula. 

Glaucoma     

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 eye doctors use their expertise and the latest diagnostic technology to detect diabetic eye disease in its earliest stages.  

During a diabetic eye exam, we will dilate your pupils to get a clear view of your retina, optic nerve, and the blood vessels in the back of your eye. we may also use optical coherence tomography to create three-dimensional images of the blood vessels in your eyes.    

Treatments for diabetic eye disease 

Treating diabetic eye disease is important to preserve your vision and our team of caring eye care professionals is here to help. One treatment option we offer is laser photocoagulation, which is a quick and painless procedure that seals off leaking blood vessels and prevents new ones from growing. 

During the procedure, you’ll be given local anesthesia, and a special contact lens will be placed on your eye to focus the laser. Then, the laser will be used to create small burns around the affected area, which will help close the blood vessels and prevent further leakage. 

This treatment is typically done on an outpatient basis, so you can get back to your daily routine in no time. The procedure only takes a few minutes to complete and is completely painless. 

We also offer Lucentis, an FDA-approved medication administered through injections, which is a non-laser treatment option for diabetic retinopathy. We’re always staying up to date with the latest advancements in treatments, and the FDA is currently reviewing other non-laser options. 

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 early stages. Our experienced eye doctors are here to help you manage your symptoms and prevent vision loss. Schedule an appointment with Hanna Eye Care in Jacksonville for a comprehensive diabetic eye exam today.