All types of diabetes, especially when uncontrolled, can damage the health of your eyes, leading to diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and cataracts. Most of the time, these conditions do not cause symptoms during the early stages. Therefore, the only reliable way to detect diabetic eye disease before it becomes a serious threat to your vision is by visiting an eye doctor near you for a diabetic eye exam. At Southern Eyecare Associates we provide diabetic eye exams in Norfolk, Virginia.
In addition, your eye doctor can often pick up on the early signs of diabetes in your eyes, even before you are diagnosed by your primary physician! So whether you have diabetes (type 1, type 2 or gestational) or not, it’s smart to schedule regular comprehensive eye exams to protect your overall health.
What to Expect During a Diabetic Eye Exam
Our office is outfitted with the latest advanced technologies, such as digital imaging equipment to monitor and optimize your ocular health. During your diabetic eye exam in Norfolk, Virginia, we will perform the following diagnostic procedures:
Retinal Eye Exam to Check for Diabetic Retinopathy
Prior to this test, our eye doctor will insert dilating eye drops that take about 20 minutes to fully enlarge your pupils. Next, we’ll use a bright light and high-powered magnification to inspect the back of your eye closely, checking the retinal blood vessels and optic nerve for any signs of diabetic retinopathy. We may also use a retinal camera and retinal scanner to record and analyze detailed images of your ocular structure. Altogether, these tests allow us to evaluate your retina precisely to check for blood vessel leakage that is characteristic of diabetic retinopathy.
Diabetes can cause elevated pressure of the fluid in your eyes, called intraocular pressure. This is the primary sign of glaucoma. The higher-than-normal pressure can push on the optic nerve, interrupting smooth blood flow. When glaucoma is left untreated, it can lead to vision loss and blindness.
Usually, the first symptom of glaucoma is loss of peripheral (side) vision. To assess peripheral vision, your diabetic eye exam will include visual field testing. We’ll also measure your eye pressure with a tonometer that involves using either a puff of air blown across your eye surface, or a special blue light that touches your eye gently. A numbing eye drop is inserted into your eye before the test, so both methods are quick and painless. To diagnose or rule out glaucoma completely, our eye doctor will inspect your eye tissues and optic nerve.
Checking for Cataracts
Diabetes increases your risk of developing cataracts, a disease in which the transparent lens of the eye becomes cloudy. To check for cataracts, we’ll use a slit lamp (a type of microscope) to inspect your lens for yellowing or white areas, both possible signs of a cataract. Once the opaque cataract interferes with clear vision, cataract surgery can be done to remove it and replace it with a transparent intraocular lens implant (IOL). The quick, safe procedure is done commonly and has a very high success rate.
Diabetic Eye Exams & Insurance Coverage
Two types of insurance plans exist for your ocular needs: medical insurance and vision insurance. Because diabetic eye exams are medically necessary to diagnose eye disease, they are generally covered by medical insurance.
- If you have diabetes or are determined to be at an increased risk for glaucoma, Medicare Part B and Medicare Advantage provide coverage for a yearly diabetic eye exam.
- Vision benefits provided by Medicaid vary from state to state. In many locations, coverage is provided for diabetic eye exams for children and adults.
We accept a variety of insurance plans at our eye care center near you. Call for more information.
How to Protect Your Vision with Diabetes
If you have diabetes, controlling your blood sugar levels (according to your physician’s instructions) and a diabetic eye exam in Norfolk, Virginia, work together to offer top protection for your vision! To preserve your healthy eyes and eyesight with diabetes, call to book a diabetic eye exam in Norfolk, Virginia, today.