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Diabetes & Diabetic Retinopathy

Short Term and Long Term Affects

Glasses Prescription Changes



In the short term, fluctuations in glucose levels (sugars) can cause dramatic changes in a patient's glasses prescription. It is generally not a good idea to make changes in glasses during this time because after glucose levels are stabilized the prescription given during that time will no longer work properly. Changes to glasses should only be made when the hemoglobin A1C level is under good control - ideally less than 7. 


In the long term, diabetes does most of its damage to the blood vessels of the eye. In the beginning, much of the damage is asymptomatic and they only way to catch is if patients follow a regular schedule for eye exams. Just like a damaged or blocked pipe, blood vessels can become blocked and 'leak' out. If retinopathy become sever vision will be affected sometimes dramatically when there is a bleed or hemorrhage in the eye. Unfortunately, when this occurs there is little medical intervention that would change the end result. The blood vessels in the eye are extremely small capillaries and unlike other, larger arteries that can have a stent placed or the blockage cleared the blood vessels of the eye are far to small for any type of procedure. 


OCT or Optical Coherence Tomography is an incredible diagnostic tool that uses low coherence light to generate detailed and highly magnified images of eye structures. OCT can be used to perform a dye less angiogram or scan of blood flow in the retina. This scan can visually show the blood vessels of the eye to clearly see where blockages are and the leaking of the vessels. This tool has been extremely helpful in showing patients why their vision has decreased and educating them to prevent further damage. 

Created by Ayla Nicole 2022

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