Diabetic Eye Exams in the Des Moines Metro Area

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Specialized Eye Exams for Diabetic Eyes

Diabetes occurs when the body is unable to produce and distribute insulin properly. This disease affects 29 million Americans.

Diabetes can lead to complications with eyesight. Many of these problems have few symptoms during their onset and early stages, so it’s critical to have regular diabetic eye exams—call us to book your exam!

Diabetes & Your Eyes

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is caused by damage to the blood vessels at the back of the eye when blood sugar is too high. The early stages have very few symptoms, which is why regular diabetic eye exams are so crucial.

According to the National Institutes of Health, diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in Americans aged 20–75. Fortunately, a comprehensive dilated eye exam can catch this disease early when there is a higher chance of prevention.

Those with diabetes can be an active part in their health management. The American Optometric Association suggests these tips to help prevent or slow the development of diabetic retinopathy:

  • Taking your prescribed medication
  • Sticking to your diet
  • Exercising regularly
  • Controlling high blood pressure
  • Avoiding alcohol and smoking

Half of the people with diabetic retinopathy will develop diabetic macular edema (or DME). Diabetic macular edema occurs when fluid from damaged blood vessels leaks into the macula, the central part of the retina at the back of the inner eye.

The primary visual symptom is wavy or blurred central vision. Colors may also appear washed out or dull. Treatments are available! Be sure to have regular optometrist appointments to keep DME at bay.

Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that can damage the optic nerve and compromise vision. People with diabetes are more likely to develop glaucoma than those without diabetes.

Glaucoma is often caused by high pressure inside the eye (or intraocular pressure). However, this isn’t true for every type of glaucoma. Glaucoma symptoms vary; sometimes there are no symptoms during onset, but headaches, eye pain, blurred vision, watery or red eyes, halos, vision loss may occur.

Treatments for glaucoma include eye drops, laser eye surgeries, medications, or a combination of these. Contact your optometrist to discover the ideal treatment for you.

Cataracts are an eye condition associated with aging but have been known to occur earlier in those with diabetes. When the lens of the eye becomes cloudy or opaque, a cataract has formed.

The American Optometric Association defines cataracts symptoms as follows:

  • Blurred or hazy vision
  • Reduced intensity of colors
  • Increased sensitivity to glare from lights, particularly when driving at night
  • Increased difficulty seeing at night
  • Change in the eye’s refractive error, or eyeglass prescription

Thanks to modern medicine, cataracts are a very treatable condition. Corrective lenses can sometimes help with mild cataracts, and cataract surgery is very safe and effective.

How We Detect & Manage Diabetic Eye Conditions

We’re here to ensure your eyes are cared for, and we want to help you achieve your optimal optical health. We have several trusted technologies to help us diagnose and manage any diabetic eye conditions.

Optos

Optos offers ultra-wide retinal imaging through their optomap technology. This imaging allows our doctors to see more of your eye’s internal structure for a fuller picture of your eye health.

Fundus photography allows your optometrist to take a clear digital image of the retina. It requires pupil dilation, which allows a wider view of the back of the eye.

Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a non-invasive method of obtaining cross-sectional images of the retina. It’s used to measure the retina’s thickness and monitor eye diseases or conditions.

Diabetic Eye Care Is within Your Grasp

Eye exams are necessary for everyone but are particularly critical for those with diabetes. Include your optometrist in your diabetes management plan to keep your eyes functioning their best, and please book an appointment to help your eyes stay healthy and your vision clear.

Our Locations

Altoona

  • 1005 8th St SW, Suite A.
  • Altoona, IA 50009

Ankeny

  • 111 NW 9th St
  • Ankeny, IA 50023

Johnston

  • 5501 NW 86th St., Suite 500
  • Johnston, IA 50131

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