Diabetes And The Importance Of Regular Eye Exams

Dr. Amit Gupta, MD, FACS, Ophthalmologist, talks about why regular eye exams are so important when you have diabetes.

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Dr. Amit Gupta, MD, FACS, Ophthalmologist, talks about why regular eye exams are so important when you have diabetes.
Video transcript

Featuring Amit Gupta, MD, FACS, Ophthalmologist

Duration: 2 minutes, 18 seconds

Once you have been diagnosed as having diabetes, you need to get regular eye exams. You may not realize when you have eye disease, your vision can be 20/20, even though there’s bleeding in the back of the eye.

Only your eye doctor can look inside that eye and tell you that you’re having a problem. Whether it is by looking, or by doing tests such as optical optical coherence tomography or photographs, the doctor needs to look inside your eyes to be able to tell if you have a problem. You won’t feel any pain, you may not experience any vision loss, but you may even be on the verge of having serious vision problems and not know it.

It requires a minimum of annual eye exams, and depending on if your sugars are very high, the exams are maybe more frequent. Once your sugars are controlled, you still need exams, because the damage is done when the sugars are high. You may have bleeding or swelling in the retina caused by damage that was done five years ago.

So even after you start controlling your sugars, they’re in the normal range, your doctor’s telling you how wonderful your sugars are, you still need eye exams because you’re still diabetic and you can still show signs of damage.

After treatment, the same rules apply. You’re still diabetic, and you need to be monitored, because the eye disease can progress, despite good sugar control. As long as you have the disease of diabetes, you must monitor for its consequences. It is no different than going to your doctor and monitoring for kidney disease, or heart disease, even though you think you’re healthy and feel healthy.

The doctor may tell you you’re doing well, but it requires ongoing monitoring. After you’ve had treatment such as injections and lasers, the amount of treatment may taper down. You may have it less often, you may require less office visits, but you do require some sort of monitoring.

For more questions, talk to your eye doctor, or to set up a monitoring plan, discuss it with your eye doctor.

Presenter: Dr. Amit Gupta, Ophthalmologist, Scarborough, ON

Local Practitioners: Ophthalmologist

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Quiz: Do You Understand Diabetic Retinopathy?


There are two types of diabetic retinopathy.


There are two types of diabetic retinopathy: early diabetic retinopathy and advanced diabetic retinopathy.


Diabetic retinopathy usually affects one eye.


Diabetic retinopathy usually affects both eyes, and anyone with type 1 or type 2 diabetes is at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy.


Diabetic retinopathy can be caused by poor blood control management.


Diabetic retinopathy can be caused by poor blood control management. Excess sugar in your blood can lead to a blockage of the blood vessels leading to the retina, cutting off the blood supply.


Effectively managing your serum cholesterol levels can help prevent diabetic retinopathy.


If you can manage your blood sugars and A1C levels, keep your blood pressure low and controlled and manage your serum cholesterol levels, your risk of developing diabetic retinopathy will be significantly reduced


Steroid injections are not a treatment for diabetic retinopathy.


Diabetic retinopathy treatment includes anti-VEGF medication, steroid injections, vitrectomy to remove vitreous gel and blood from leaking vessels or laser surgery to seal off leaking blood vessels.

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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