What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a lifelong condition that affects how your body handles glucose, or blood sugar. Your body needs glucose for energy, but if you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or doesn’t use it effectively. As a result, too much glucose can build up in your blood, leading to a host of health problems. Diabetes affects more than 422 million people worldwide, and it’s estimated that more than half of them are undiagnosed.
How Can Eye Doctors Tell If You Have Diabetes?
Eye doctors, or ophthalmologists, are trained to look for signs of diabetes in the eyes. They can detect symptoms such as diabetic retinopathy, which is a condition caused by damage to the blood vessels in the retina. Diabetic retinopathy is one of the most common causes of vision loss in people with diabetes. Other signs of diabetes that eye doctors can detect include cataracts, glaucoma, and macular edema.
What Should You Expect During an Eye Exam?
During a routine eye exam, the doctor will examine your eyes for signs of diabetes. This usually includes a visual acuity test, which measures how well you can see at various distances. The doctor may also use a slit lamp to look closely at the front of your eye and check for signs of diabetic retinopathy. If the doctor finds any signs of diabetes-related eye problems, they may recommend additional tests or refer you to an endocrinologist or diabetes specialist.
What Are the Benefits of Early Detection?
Early detection and treatment of diabetes-related eye problems can reduce the risk of vision loss. If an eye doctor suspects that you have diabetes, they will likely refer you to a diabetes specialist for further testing and treatment. Prompt diagnosis and treatment can help slow the progression of the disease and help you manage your diabetes more effectively.
What Else Can You Do to Help?
In addition to regular eye exams, there are other steps you can take to help manage your diabetes. Eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy weight can help keep your blood sugar levels in check and reduce your risk of diabetes-related complications. Additionally, quitting smoking and avoiding alcohol can help reduce your risk of complications.
Eye doctors can detect signs of diabetes during a routine eye exam. Early diagnosis and treatment of diabetes-related eye problems can help reduce the risk of vision loss. In addition to regular eye exams, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy weight can help keep your blood sugar levels in check and reduce your risk of diabetic complications.