Updated: Apr 10, 2019
If you have diabetes, you should be getting your eyes checked at least once per year with dilation. Why? You’ve probably heard this from your regular primary care provider too, but diabetes can affect your vision and eye health.
How? Diabetes damages the blood vessels in the retina, a very thin layer of tissue that lines the back of your eye. If this tissue is damaged, you can lose your vision.
What type of damage can happen, exactly?
Bleeding, inflammation, and ischemia (lack of oxygen). During a dilated eye exam, your eye doctor checks for these signs. Blood comes from the damaged blood vessels, and this may in turn cause swelling and inflammation.
Blood vessels can also lose their ability to function, causing oxygen deprivation. When this happens, new blood vessels may form. While this may sound like a good thing, these vessels are extremely fragile and often easily bleed into the retina, leading to severe damage, scar tissue, and vision loss.