In 2019, 37.3 million Americans, or 11.3% of the population, had diabetes. 1.4 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes every year.

Diabetes occurs when your body doesn't process blood sugar, otherwise known as glucose, an important source of energy. In general, glucose is derived from the food we eat and is carried through the bloodstream. Pancreas releases insulin as soon as blood sugar levels rise, as this hormone converts sugar into energy. Diabetes impairs this process, causing damage to many parts of the body including the eyes. Several eye problems can be caused by diabetes, including cataracts, blurry vision, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy.

Why is it necessary to have regular eye exams every year if you have Diabetes?

Everyone with diabetes should have an eye exam every year. The most significant concern with diabetes is to reduce the risk of permanent vision loss by keeping constant check that there is no cellular damage.  This takes place mainly to check the health of the eye itself, since the eye has a vasculature that delivers oxygen to the retina. When your vasculature is damaged in any way, which is caused by high sugar levels, it can further damage your vision if you don't control it. That's why it's so important to check it every year.

Studies have shown that omega-3 supplements can actually help stabilise or decrease any progression of the retina or the vasculature of the retina. However, Dr. Wolff always recommends her patients to talk to their primary care physician to see if that is something they would recommend for them. It's one thing that you would do even before you see any changes on the retina. Additionally, it is helpful to know where your sugar levels are because they do fluctuate throughout the day. When either it's too high all the time or fluctuates too much, then it essentially weakens those vessels. That's when they begin to leak fluids and sometimes blood.

How important is it to take photos of the retina during a Diabetic Retinopathy Exam?

At Amplify EyeCare practices, we do a yearly diabetic dilation exam with high definition retinal photos to document good results or bad results and then show our patients what we see. We can show the patient those photos, which is great for documentation and education. It can be more profound to the patient when they witness changes in their retina. This also allows us to monitor it and to communicate with their primary care physician. So it is a good advantage to have.

Why should you check your sugar levels more often if you have Diabetes?

Diabetes is fairly common, but the key is to catch it early and to understand how your body reacts to sugar. It is such an individual condition that what works for one person may not work for another. We always tell our patients that when they have diabetes, it really is about learning how they react to different types of sugars, which is why it is so important to constantly check their blood sugar levels throughout the day.

Receive the best care by visiting us for a diabetic eye exam at our renowned optometry clinic in Bellflower, catering to patients from Long Beach, Lakewood, and Los Angeles. Call (562) 925-6591 or fill out this form to make an appointment today.
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