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Home » Eye Care Services » Your Diabetic Eye Exam

Your Diabetic Eye Exam

Unlike a routine eye exam that assesses your visual system and eye health, anyone who was diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes requires an additional test for their eye exam. Traditionally, everyone had their pupils dilated in order to get a clear picture of the eye, however, with modern advances in technology, many practices, including N2 Eyes Comprehensive Optometry, are adding a digital retinal exam as well.

What Makes Our Diabetic Eye Exam Different?

Our eye doctor, Dr. Cassis saw the need for more advanced diagnosis and care for people with diabetes and pre-diabetes. By investing in the latest technology for diabetic eye care, our eye doctor is able to give diabetics peace of mind knowing that their eyes are getting the best care possible. The Optomap provides high quality digital images that show much more than was traditionally available to optometrists, as well as providing a baseline image to look for changes.

The beginning of the Dilated Eye Exam

When our Newport News eye doctor starts the dilated eye exam, she will use dilating drops in each eye, which would enlarge your pupils to give our optometrist a better view of certain parts of the back of the eye. The drops can take at most 20 to 30 minutes to take effect, but the effects last well beyond the exam up to several hours.

Diabetic Eye Exams In Newport News, VA


Enlarging the pupils will allow for more light to enter the eye. When more light can enter the eye, this allows for your eye doctor to have a greater range of visibility within the eye. This provides your eye doctor the ability to use a special magnifying lens to examine the tissues at the back of the eye, including the retina, the macula, and the optic nerve.

For anyone with diabetes, these exams are essential as diabetic retinopathy is a leading cause of blindness. By examining a greater range of the eye’s interior, the diabetic eye exam can detect signs of swelling or leaking of blood vessels in the retina.

After the Dilated Eye Exam

While people might relax at the optometrist’s office until the effects start to fade, it’s recommended that you invest in a pair of polarized sunglasses.  While tinted lenses can reduce the amount of light that enters the eyes, during the time your eyesight is extra sensitive, the added protection from polarization is essential.

The concept is very similar in children. Children naturally have larger pupils, so their eyes are extra sensitive to light, and therefore should wear sunglasses with UV protection.

A Healthy Diet is Key in Prevention

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The findings from your diabetic eye exam can give your doctor important information about your overall health, particularly diabetes and high blood pressure. Plus, your optometrist in Newport News can help you manage your diabetes and prevent the progression of the condition. For example, most diabetics know that nutrition is the key factor in maintaining a normal, healthy lifestyle. Your eye doctor is a great resource to review your diet and can advise you on what foods are recommended and what to avoid.

For further information about how diabetes plays a role in your vision, call our office in Newport News, VA to schedule your annual diabetic eye exam. Our Optometrist, Dr. Cassis, provides Diabetic eye care using the latest technology to patients from Hampton, VA.

Transcript of Diabetes & Your Eyes Video

Hello Dr. Cassis here

So today we are going to talk about diabetes November is the month of diabetes awareness and it is no the start of the holiday season which for many of us is sort of a free free for all in terms of food so it's a good time to kind of sharpen up our awareness about diabetes. So as of July 2017 the CDC reported that there's around a hundred million Americans that have either diabetes or prediabetes so we know it's extremely prevalent in the United States and it causes a lot of damage through the whole body, today we're going to talk about the damage that it can have to the eye. So the first thing that happens with the diabetes and diabetic a lot of times as the prescription will fluctuate, their glasses prescription will change and a lot of times it's an increase in nearsightedness and that can actually be what makes the diagnosis for somebody that has diabetes there's going to be a large shift in their prescription. Or if they are diabetic and their prescription fluctuate a lot that's an indication sugar levels are not well controlled. So that's one way that diabetes affect the vision. The other common way,  this is the eye sideways, the front is the cornea the colored is the cornea and here is the lens. So a lot of diabetics will have cataracts at an earlier age. What happens with cataracts is that the lens gets  little bit cloudy or cloudier, the light doesn't go through as well and then no matter what we do in terms of prescription in the outside of the eye, if the lens is too cloudy the light will not go through and the vision will remain blurry untill the cataract is removed. So that is the second thing that happens with diabetes, cataracts starts earlier and is a little bit more aggressive. The third thing that can happen, and the most visiually devastating,  is if the sugar levels are high or fluctuating a lot, especially the first five year,  the really small vessels in the back of the eye will leak and cause diabetic retinopathy. If nothing is done or the sugar levels remain high, the damage from the bleeding can become pretty significant from lack of oxygen or bleeding, and that can bloodvessle, scartissue, retinal detachment. So it is important as a diabetic to come in for a yearly visit so we can look at the back of the eye, and I'll look for those diabetic changes and then if we were to find something that is significant then we refer to a retina person and there's injection or laser treatment that can be done to stop that progression and try to preserve the sight. So one of the latest technology we added to the office is called the Optomap, so what happens in the Optomap is it allows us with one picture to go ahead and take a picture of the whole back of the eye, so this is actually our Tech Kylie we're looking directly inside her right eye so this is the optic nerve here the blood vessels and with one shot we can go from side to side. So internally almost, almost from white to white all the way in the back of your eye where the retina is and that it enables us to see changes to the blood vessels, as subtle as they can be or as far as they can be, and can give us a good indication of your sugar control level. And also it's good for documentation so if you're having you know a good year the sugar level is good we have that picture its a JPEG image and then on the following years we can take it again and compare them side-by-side and make sure that everything is staying nice and  healthy to really help the prevention of keeping your retina healthy. The other thing I want to point out about diabetes we always ask what is your A1C level and a lot of patients first don't know or don't really know what it means. So the A1C levels is going to be between 6 and 6 and a half, if it's good. Above that it's considered elevated and so it's an average of the blood sugar level over the last 3 months so if you come in and say “I am averaging 7.5” what that means the way to know what your A1C means its times 2 and times ten. That means over all over the last 3 months your average blood sugar was 150 which is pretty high because we know we want it 120 or below which it would be an A1C of 6 so that gives you a sort of a good tip to be involved in your care and kind of know how you're doing when you prick your finger that at that moment what that sugar level is but the A1C is a little more important because it really gives you the overall image of the last 3 months and what your sugar level is. So keep up your good work and trying to keep your sugar low and controlled and stay strong through the holiday make good choices. I look forward to seeing you in the office