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What should you expect in an eye exam if you have diabetes?

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It's important that anyone who has diabetes gets annual eye exams from an ophthalmologist so that retinopathy can be detected early. When you visit an ophthalmologist, they will question you about your medical history and vision and will ask you to read an eye chart. The doctor will then directly examine the retina using an instrument called an ophthalmoscope. Some of the features of diabetic retinopathy cannot be seen during a basic eye exam and require special exams. To get a better look at the inside of the eye, your doctor might use eye drops to dilate the pupils and may then view the retina with lenses and a special light called a slit lamp. A test called fluorescein angiography can reveal changes in the structure and function of the retinal blood vessels. For this test, the doctor injects a fluorescent yellow dye into one of your veins and then photographs your retina as the dye outlines the blood vessels. Your eye exam will likely also include a check for glaucoma and cataracts, both of which occur more frequently in people with diabetes and can cause vision problems.

SOURCE:

American Diabetes Association.

American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Reviewed by Michael Dansinger on January 21, 2017

SOURCE:

American Diabetes Association.

American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Reviewed by Michael Dansinger on January 21, 2017

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