Expert Eye Care for Diabetes in Olathe, KS
Diabetes – of any type – can damage eye health and vision quality, leading to diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and cataracts. Typically, these conditions do not present symptoms during the early stages. Therefore, the only way to detect them before they cause a serious threat to your vision is by having a regular eye exam for diabetes.
In addition, our eye doctor can often spot the early signs of diabetes in your eyes, even before you are diagnosed! So whether you have diabetes (type 1, type 2 or gestational) or not, we encourage you to schedule a comprehensive eye exam with our Olathe optometrist.
A1C Test and Eye Health
The A1C test is a blood test that gives valuable information about an individual’s average blood glucose levels over the previous three months. Your physician may also refer to this test as the HbA1c or hemoglobin A1c. It holds distinction as the primary test for diabetes research and management.
The results the A1C test are reported as a percentage; the higher the number, the higher your blood sugars have been. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, a normal A1C level is 5.6% or less. If your result is between 5.7 to 6.4%, it indicates prediabetes. When the number is 6.5% or above, you are diagnosed with diabetes. To monitor overall blood glucose control, people with diabetes are advised to have an A1C test at least twice a year.
When it comes to the lasting health of your eyes with diabetes, it is critical to maintain your A1C test results at the level recommended by your physician. Health care providers use the A1C percentage to monitor blood glucose in order to check that your treatment plan is working, or whether a change in medication or regimen is needed. Many scientific studies have shown that keeping blood sugars and A1C results as normal as possible goes very far towards preventing and reducing long-term complications from diabetes, including the preservation of your healthy vision.
Eye Care Services for Diabetes
We equip our office with the latest diagnostics and digital imaging equipment to monitor and optimize your eye health. Here’s a basic outline of our focus during your eye exam for diabetes:
Retinal Eye Exam for Diabetic Retinopathy
Before this procedure, Dr. Diane Galbrecht will apply dilating eye drops that require about 20 minutes to take full effect. Then, we’ll use high-powered magnification and a bright light to look closely at the back of your eye, retinal blood vessels and optic nerve for any indication of diabetic retinopathy. Our Olathe optometrist may also use a retinal camera and retinal scanner to analyze detailed images of your full ocular structure. These tests enable us to assess your retina precisely for any leakage that may be occurring due to diabetic retinopathy.
Diabetes can cause higher-than-normal pressure of the fluid in your eyes, which is the primary sign of glaucoma. This pressure may push on the optic nerve, interfering with smooth blood flow. When left untreated, glaucoma can lead to vision loss and blindness.
Generally, peripheral eyesight is affected first by glaucoma. So we’ll use visual field testing to evaluate your side vision. We’ll also measure your eye pressure with a tonometer. This procedure involves either a puff of air blown across your eye surface, or we’ll touch your eye gently with a special blue light. A numbing eye drop is usually placed in your eye before the test, so both methods are quick and painless. To confirm or completely rule out the presence of glaucoma, our eye doctor will inspect your eye tissues and optic nerve.
Checking for Cataracts
Diabetes raises your risk of cataracts, a disease in which the transparent lens of your eye becomes cloudy. To inspect for cataracts, we’ll use a slit lamp (a type of microscope); a yellowing of your lens or white areas may point to the presence of a cataract. Once this opaque lens interferes with clear vision, we can remove it and replace it with a clear intraocular lens implant. The procedure is quick and has a very high success rate.
Eye exams for diabetes are the best way to take care of your vision! Our Olathe, KS, team is here to help you maintain your healthy eyesight with diabetes. Call today to schedule an appointment.