Diabetic Eye Screening
Diabetes is a very common condition that occurs when a patient’s body cannot regulate its own blood sugar levels properly. This causes there to be too much sugar in the blood – known as a high blood glucose level. A report by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has estimated that more than 100 million U.S adults are now living with diabetes or pre-diabetes and require monitoring or medication.
While diabetes can have very serious consequences for your health, many people do not realize that it can also affect your vision. If you are diabetic, your eyes are at risk of damage from a related ocular condition known as diabetic retinopathy. This condition can lead to sight loss if it is not detected and treated promptly. For this reason, people who are diabetic are urged to ensure that they attend regular diabetic eye screening appointments.
We are delighted to offer diabetic eye screening appointments here at our modern, comfortable facility in Sunnyside, Queens, NY.
What is diabetic retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy is a complication associated with diabetes. One of the key elements of being able to see clearly is having a healthy retina. This is the area of light sensitive cells at the back of the eye that converts the light that passes into the eye into electrical signals. These signals are transmitted to the brain which decides what we can see.
For the retina to be healthy it needs a continuous supply of blood. This is delivered to it using a network of tiny blood vessels. Unfortunately, having persistently high blood sugar levels can actually damage these blood vessels and cause problems such as bleeding into the retina and scarring. These can prevent it from working correctly and this can negatively affect your vision leading to eventual blindness.
Risk factors for diabetic retinopathy
While all patients diagnosed with either Type I or Type II diabetes should be regularly screen for diabetic retinopathy, there are some factors which could increase your risk of developing the condition. These include:
- Uncontrolled/persistently high blood sugar levels
- A long history of diabetes
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Being of Asian or Afro-Caribbean descent
What is involved in diabetic eye screening?
Diabetic eye screening is a fairly simple process and most patients will have it incorporated into their usual routine eye exams. It is non-invasive, but you may experience some blurred vision immediately afterwards and shouldn’t drive yourself home until your sight goes back to normal.
First, you will be asked to perform a visual acuity test. This is the most commonly recognized part of any eye screening test where you are asked to read letters off of a chart. Next, you will have drops placed into your eyes. They may sting for a brief second, but this quickly passes, and you should notice your eyesight becoming progressively blurrier.
Once the drops are working you will be asked to stare into a camera that will be used to take images of the back of your eyes. This enables our team to see and assess the condition of your retina and the blood vessels serving it. You may notice a bright flash when the images are taken.
The entire diabetic eye screening should take no more than 30 minutes, after which time you can leave. It is important to note that your sight may be blurry for a number of hours and you may be sensitive to light. If the latter is true, you may find wearing sunglasses will help.
If you have diabetes and have not yet undergone regular diabetic eye screening, it is vital that you enrol in a program as soon as possible. Please get in contact with our experienced team who will be delighted to schedule an appointment for you by calling our offices in Sunnyside, Queens, NY at 718-565-2020.