Diabetic Eye Exam​

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Looking for diabetic eye exams in the York Region? Dr. Elmalem & Associates offers comprehensive ocular health exams including diabetic eye checks.

Did you Know?

  • 10% of Canadians have diabetes which translates to approximately 3.7 million people¹.
  • Diabetes can be responsible for causing diabetic retinopathy – a complication affecting the eyes. Per the CNIB, diabetic retinopathy is a leading cause of vision loss in Canada².
  • York Region and Ontario have approximately 681,000 people with mild to severe vision loss, and diabetic retinopathy is the 3rd leading cause of blindness in this region and Canada as a whole³.

How Diabetes Affects Eye Health

Over time, having too much sugar in your blood can damage your retina — the part of your eye that detects light and sends signals to your brain via the optic nerve.

Diabetes damages blood vessels all over the body. The damage to the eyes starts due to a reduction in available oxygen in the tiny blood vessels of the retina, causing them to leak fluid or bleed. To make up for the reduced blood flow and oxygen, the eyes grow new blood vessels that don’t work well and that can leak or bleed easily.

There is also a clear link between diabetes and high blood pressure⁴. Diabetes is known to damage the kidneys and can lead to high blood pressure. Over time, high blood pressure can affect the blood vessels in the eyes (retina), leading to diabetic retinopathy, a condition characterized by swelling, bleeding, abnormal blood vessel growth, and many other retina changes. If left untreated, diabetic retinopathy can cause permanent vision loss⁵.

Regular eye exams are key to maintaining your ocular health, especially if you have diabetes.

Diabetes-Related Ocular Signs/Symptoms

People with diabetes tend to exhibit these ocular signs or symptoms⁶:

  • Blurred vision, double vision, deteriorating vision, and/or vision loss
  • Early cataracts
  • Glaucoma
  • Dry eyes
  • Changes or fluctuations in prescription glasses
  • Premature presbyopia (difficulty focusing on close objects)
  • Decreased corneal sensitivity
  • Flashes and floaters (linked to retinal detachments)
  • Diabetic retinopathy (characterized by blood vessels leaking blood into the retina)

Keep in mind that retinopathy can present without symptoms in earlier stages, so regular eye exams are the best way to detect any possible changes or deterioration in eye health.

Diabetic Eye Exams

Early detection is paramount for maintaining your vision. Comprehensive diabetic eye exams can detect diabetes-related eye conditions before they become symptomatic, or severe or cause vision loss.

An annual diabetic eye exam is crucial for identifying retinopathy and/or other eye conditions early.

Ocular changes linked to diabetes can be detected during eye exams and can sometimes be the first indication of diabetes or blood sugar level challenges. Regular monitoring ensures any changes are detected early before they cause serious harm.

How is a Diabetic Eye Exam Done?

Diabetic eye exams are very similar to regular comprehensive eye health checks. At Dr. Elmalem & Associates, you can expect the following tests during a typical diabetic eye exam:

1. Pupil Dilation

Dilation allows a clear view of the inner structures of the eye, i.e., optic nerve, retina, and blood vessels located at the back of the eyes. Special eye drops are used to dilate the pupils and offer better observation. Dilation usually lasts 1-2 hours and may blur vision.

2. Autofluorescence Imaging

Auto-fluorescent imaging gives information over and above conventional imaging techniques such as fundus photos or fluorescence angiography as it allows visualization of the metabolic changes at the level of the RPE and helps to identify areas that may be at high risk for the development of geographic atrophy or CNV.

3. Glaucoma Screening

Diabetic eye exams at Dr. Elmalem and Associates also include a glaucoma test that seeks an early glaucoma diagnosis. As mentioned, glaucoma is a common diabetes-related ocular health condition. This test monitors changes in eye pressure (intraocular pressure), which tends to increase as natural eye fluid increases. High pressure may signal glaucoma. A glaucoma test involves highly specialised pressure testing (tonometry) that measures the pressure inside the eye.

4. OPTOMAP Optos  

Our ultra-wide retinal imaging and scans provide a more detailed view of the retina than traditional tools can offer. It checks the cross-section of the retina to detect the thickening or thinning of retinal blood vessels, which indicates leaking fluid.

5. Visual Acuity 

This test assesses overall vision i.e., if you need contact lenses or prescription glasses. Patients are required to identify small and large letters on a distant chart. The eyes are tested individually for visual discrepancies.

Diabetic eye checks may involve additional eye exams depending on the severity of eye conditions. At Dr. Elmalem & Associates, you can expect the most comprehensive diabetic eye exams using the latest innovations in optometric technology. The exams are comfortable, painless, and can capture any diabetic-related eye symptom/condition.

Looking for Diabetic Eye Care?

Dr. Elmalem and Associates understand the importance of including annual eye exams in your schedule, especially if you have pre-existing health conditions like diabetes. Annual visits to the optometrist are an important part of your health care and disease management routine.

Keep in mind:

  • If you are recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, we recommend you schedule your diabetic eye exam as soon as you can.
  • People with type 1 or 2 diabetes should attend yearly exams (in most cases covered by OHIP – with a valid health card).

If you are looking for diabetic eye health specialists in the York Region Book an appointment online at one of York Region offices.

Find out more about diabetic eye checks by visiting Dr. Elmalem and Associates clinics in Newmarket – Call: 905-830-1910 or Richmond Hill.- Call: 905-780-0250. Receive high-quality diabetes eye health care and treatment options.