Diabetic Eye Exam

People with diabetes are often at higher risk for vision problems because high blood sugar levels can damage blood vessels in the eyes. A diabetic eye exam can catch eye and vision problems early before they lead to serious complications, including blindness.


What Is a Diabetic Eye Exam?Woman getting a retinal scan with female eye doctor

A diabetic eye exam is a specialized eye exam for people with diabetes. During a diabetic eye exam, a provider inspects the retina and other parts of the eye that are commonly affected by diabetes.

Why Have a Diabetic Eye Exam?

If you have diabetes, a diabetic eye exam can detect whether you have diabetic retinopathy—an eye condition in which blood vessels in the retina become damaged due to chronically high blood sugar levels. A diabetic eye exam can also detect glaucoma and cataracts.

What Are the Risks?

There are generally no risks associated with a diabetic eye exam. However, you may want to ask your provider about the screening methods and equipment used during the exam to learn more about potential risks.

What Are the Benefits?

The main benefit to having a diabetic eye exam is having the opportunity to identify and treat any eye problems as early as possible to prevent them from impairing your vision.


What Is Involved In a Diabetic Eye Exam?

Your provider will use a digital retinal scan to take photos of the backs of your eyes, then inspect the photos to determine whether you need any additional testing or treatment.

How Often Should I Have a Diabetic Eye Exam?

People with diabetes should have a diabetic eye exam once per year. Your provider may recommend having a diabetic eye exam more frequently if you already have vision problems or are at high risk for vision problems.