Healthy retina

Healthy retina

If you have diabetes, one of the most common questions your physician will ask is something along the lines of:

“So, when did you get your eyes checked last?”

“Have you had your eyes checked lately?”

“No, really, when did you get your eyes checked?”

There is a reason your doctor is so concerned about getting your eyes checked, and it has absolutely nothing to do with vision.  Your eyes are the only place in the body where you can look directly at blood vessels without cutting something open first.  Diabetes can cause these blood vessels to leak, and at first, there are no changes in your vision when this happens. 

Diabetic retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy

When diabetes has progressed to the point where blood vessels are leaking inside the eye, there is a very good chance that they are leaking in your brain and kidneys also.  So catching this in the early stages allows your physician to change your treatment regimen (diet, exercise, medication) and reduce your risk of blindness, stroke, or kidney failure.  I often tell my patients, “We want to keep you thinking, and seeing, and peeing.”

If you have diabetes, it is important that you have your eyes checked yearly, even if you don’t notice any change in your vision.