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Why Are Regular Eye Exams Important for Diabetics?

February 1 2022

The high blood sugar levels caused by diabetes can cause widespread damage to the body’s organs, including the eyes. While diabetes is manageable, occasional blood sugar spikes can still occur. For these reasons, it’s especially important to get eye exams on a regular basis. In this post, a Marysville, WA optometrist talks about diabetes’ effects on the eyes and how getting regular eye exams can help protect your vision.

The Effects of Diabetes on Your Vision

High glucose or AIC levels account for the damaging effects of diabetes type 1 and type 2 on the eyes. When your bloodstream contains high levels of glucose, it causes blood vessels to get narrow and clogged, including the ones in your eyes. These conditions cause fluid to build up in your blood vessels.

Over time, fluid buildup in your eyes’ blood vessels can cause serious problems to develop, including:

  • Micro aneurysms in the back of the eye
  • Retinal detachment
  • Diabetic retinopathy

For these reasons, anyone who’s been diagnosed with diabetes should undergo comprehensive eye exams at least once a year.

Early Detection is Key

The effects of diabetes can make the retina of your eye particularly susceptible to damage. The retina makes up the layer of tissue at the back of your inner eye. It’s responsible for converting light and images into nerve signals that are sent to the brain.

When fluid builds up in the blood vessels of the retina, impaired vision or even blindness can result. In fact, data collected by the National Institutes of Health shows diabetic retinopathy as the leading cause of blindness in working-age Americans. And one of the most dangerous aspects of diabetes’ effects is serious eye conditions like diabetic retinopathy show no symptoms in the early stages.

For these reasons, early detection is key to preventing vision loss and blindness from taking hold.

Guidelines to Keep in Mind

The American Diabetes Association recommends the following guidelines for anyone diagnosed with diabetes:

  • Type 1 diabetes – get a comprehensive eye exam within five years of diagnosis
  • Type 2 diabetes – get a comprehensive eye exam at the same time as your diagnosis
  • Type 1 and type 2 diabetes – get yearly dilated eye exams, thereafter
  • Pregnant with Pre-Existing Diabetes – get a comprehensive eye exam during the first trimester along and continued monitoring

If you have more questions about diabetes and eye health or wish to schedule an eye exam, call our Marysville, WA optometry office today!

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Grandview Optometry


16616 Twin Lakes Ave
Marysville, WA 98271
(Inside Marysville/Smokey Point Costco)


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Saturday:  9:30am-5:00pm
Sunday: Closed

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