Diabetic Eye Exam Reading, PA

Although over 37 million Americans have diabetes, nearly 9 million are not diagnosed. Nearly 100 million Americans age 18 or older have prediabetes. Because these conditions can affect the blood vessels in your eyes, and therefore affect your vision, you need a diabetic eye exam. Reading, PA residents are fortunate to have Eye Consultants of Pennsylvania in nearby Blandon.

What is diabetic retinopathy?

For people who have diabetes, many will have the eye condition known as diabetic retinopathy. The high blood sugar levels characteristic of diabetes can affect the blood vessels in the retina. These high sugar levels cause blood vessel damage in the retinal area, located in the back of the eye that is sensitive to light.

In the early stage of diabetic retinopathy, the blood vessels swell and begin leaking. You may not have symptoms at this stage, and may not experience any vision issues.

In the later stage, blood vessels can break and bleed into the fluid portion of the eyeball, and vision loss can occur.

What symptoms can I expect?

The longer you have diabetes, the more likely you are to develop this retinopathy. As your diabetic retinopathy progresses, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Blurry vision
  • Double vision
  • Seeing dark spots, blank spots or floaters
  • Eye pain or pressure
  • Seeing halos or flashes of light

Why are eye exams important?

A diabetic eye exam is very similar to a regular eye exam, with some important additions to check for diabetic retinopathy. We will dilate the eyes to more clearly see the eye’s internal structures. Tests include:

  • Medical and family history review
  • Health check
  • Visual acuity test using an eye chart to measure vision at various distances
  • Tonometry to check eye pressure
  • Ophthalmoscopy to examine the retina
  • Optical coherence tomography (OCT) images to see cross-sections of the retina

Early detection of diabetic retinopathy through an eye exam is the best way to monitor your eye health and to get prompt treatment if you do have the condition. A diabetic eye exam differs a bit from a regular eye exam.

The only way our eye care professionals can diagnose diabetic retinopathy is by performing a dilated eye exam. Our board-certified ophthalmologist will place drops in your eye to dilate (widen) the pupil which helps us more easily see inside your eye to inspect for any damage caused by the retinopathy.

The eye exam will take 30 minutes to an hour, but the effects of the dilation may last up to six hours. It is best to bring a family member or friend along to drive you home. You may also want to bring sunglasses to shade your eyes because dilated eyes are usually extra-sensitive to light.

Come see us

Many people have prediabetes and don’t even know it. Your eyes can often show signs of diabetes before you notice any signs, vision or otherwise. We recommend eye exams every year; these exams are especially important if you have diabetes. A diabetic eye exam in Reading, PA is available at Eye Consultants of Pennsylvania in nearby Blandon. If it’s been a while since you had your eyes checked, come see us today. Give us a call to schedule your appointment.

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