How to Prepare For a Diabetic Eye Exam

May 05, 2023
How to Prepare For a Diabetic Eye Exam
Type 2 diabetes affects millions of people, and can damage many parts of the body, including your eyes. If you’re getting a diabetic eye exam, you’ll need to know what to do to get ready. Read on to find out more.

Too much circulating blood sugar can lead to diabetes and its many complications and can damage your nerves, kidneys, blood pressure, and your eyes.

Diabetic retinopathy is the name of the eye condition caused by diabetes, which can lead to blindness if left untreated. If you live in the Muncie, Indiana area and you need a diabetic eye exam or other diagnostic eye care, Dr. Jeffrey Rapkin and his medical team at Retina Consultants of Muncie are here to help.

What diabetes can do to your eyes

Diabetes occurs when you have chronically high levels of blood sugar in your body – because there isn’t enough insulin (the hormone released by your pancreas to regulate it) or when the body develops a resistance to insulin. Diabetes affect your eyes when the disease causes a blockage of the blood vessels that bring nutrients to your retinas, cutting off their supply of blood and keeping new vessels from developing properly.

There are two types of diabetic retinopathy: 

  • Nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR): this is the early and more common type, where the walls in your retinal blood vessels weaken and small bulges protrude leaking out fluid and blood into your retina.
  • Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR): the advanced stage where damaged blood vessels close off and grow abnormal, fragile vessels on the surface of the retina. They can bleed and break and leak into your eye and cause vision loss.

Scar tissue from the growth of the new blood vessels can lead to retinal detachment, and if the new vessels prevent proper function of the fluids in your eye it can build pressure and damage the optic nerve and cause glaucoma.

How diabetic eye exams help

These specific exams are essential for catching the condition before it does any serious damage; if you have diabetes there’s a good chance (1 in 5 people) you are dealing with this form of retinopathy. There may not be any symptoms at first, but if you don’t get it checked you could suffer irreversible damage to your vision. You should consider your eye health as important as all of the other methods you use to keep your diabetes under control.

How you can prepare

To get ready for your eye exam, you will need to be sure to let us know about your symptoms, when they began, and what your blood sugar levels were when you experienced them. You’ll also want to make us aware of any other health issues you’re dealing with, and offer any other information you think is important for us to know.

You can expect a visual acuity test, visual field test, eye muscle function test, pupil response test, tonometry test, and eye dilation. From there we can make determinations about treatment depending on the presence or extent of the damage from your retinopathy.

You will need to arrange for a driver for your visit, as both eyes will be dilated and you should avoid driving for 4-6 hours.

Diabetic retinopathy is a potential threat to your vision, but it can be treated, and we can help. If you’re ready for your eye exam, make an appointment with Dr. Rapkin and Retina Consultants of Muncie today to get started.