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Home » What's New » Protect Your Eyes From Vision Loss: Diabetes Awareness Month

Protect Your Eyes From Vision Loss: Diabetes Awareness Month

Believe it or not, our office started out as a 50 year old farmhouse – with a tremendous view of the Front Range mountains. In 2000 we purchased the home with the vision of converting it into a unique eye care practice. After the typical delays of rezoning and construction, in 2002 we moved the practice from our old location on South Boulder Road to our new location on Summit View Drive – and we love it here!

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A tour of our office brings you from our front door to our Reception Desk. This is where it all begins (checking in) – and ends (checking out). Our wonderful (they really are) receptionists will welcome you and begin the process to get you set up to get your eyes examined.

After you check in, you will move to our reception room, which is warm and welcoming and will hopefully only be a part of your visit for a short period of time until you are taken back to begin the exam process. We have coffee and hot tea available if you’d like.

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As you will notice, our office recognizes the beauty and intrigue of the history of eye care. We have many displays of antique equipment and eyewear that is fun to see. Keep your eyes open as you move through the office – there are examples of how things used to be around every corner.

Next, one of our experienced and well-trained (and terrific, we think) ophthalmic technicians will come get you from the reception area and take you back to one of our special testing areas, or you may go directly into an examination room. This depends on the type of visit you are scheduled for.

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We have six identical exam rooms which, if you wonder out and are not careful, may make you feel lost as to which room you came from! Don’t worry, we have placed some arrows in our carpet to help you find your way out. As of yet, nobody has been lost longer than a minute or two.

The exam rooms themselves are where the bulk of your visit will be spent. We have computers in each room and utilize an electronic health record system. The equipment is top notch – from computerized eye charts to Nikon biomicroscopes – all to provide the best care possible.

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If you are here for a annual or comprehensive eye exam, your eyes may be analyzed with one or several high tech instruments including an autorefractor (to give an estimation of your prescription), a corneal topographer (to map the surface and curvature of the front of your eye) and the Optomap (a super cool imaging system that uses laser light to take a picture of your retina – the back of your eye).

If you are here for a medical eye evaluation or follow-up, you may have your optic nerves or retina analyzed by our Cirrus OCT imaging system. This instrument is truly remarkable and revealing in how it allows us to look at the different layers of your eye – especially the optic nerve and macula. It is sort of like having an MRI of your retina – something that helps us diagnose and follow many types of eye disease. If indicated, your peripheral vision may need to be evaluated. We have two different types of visual field testing instruments to make this possible. We see a lot of glaucoma patients in our practice – just ask any of them – they’ll tell you about the visual field testing fun!

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If you are a contact lens wearer, or are interested in contact lenses, we have a ton of contact lenses. From single use daily disposables to astigmatism correcting and multifocal lenses – all the way up to specialized lenses for diseased eyes. We love contact lenses here and we are especially patient in working with difficult cases.

Now, we have saved the best for last – a visit to our optical. After your examination is over, you will be escorted back to the front desk and to the optical department. Here our certified opticians will help you with any eye glasses needs you may have. These days, there are so many details that go into a pair of glasses – from the type of frame you select to the type of lens and lens features that are available – that help is needed to guide one through the process.

Don’t worry, our friendly and experienced opticians will help you through the process. All of our eye glasses are custom products, no one is the same as another – we will help you love your very own pair – or two!

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We hope this tour was helpful for you to see our office and learn about some of the equipment we use to examine eyes. But remember, as was said earlier, as proud as we are about our physical office and equipment, it is our people that make Front Range Eye Health Center what it is today!

Protect Your Eyes From Vision Loss: Diabetes Awareness Month

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What Is Diabetic Retinopathy?

Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) is one of the most prevalent eye diseases affecting the working age population. It is thought to be caused by high blood sugar levels which, over time, damage the tiny blood vessels of the retina at the back of the eye, making them swell and leak. Left untreated, DR can lead to vision loss and eventually blindness.

Since diabetic eye disease is typically painless and shows no symptoms until its advanced stages, it’s critical to get your annual eye evaluation, as an optometrist can detect the developing signs early enough to prevent vision loss.

Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy 

Diabetics may not realize they have diabetic retinopathy, because it develops silently. As the condition worsens, it may cause: 

  • Blurred vision
  • Poor night vision
  • Colors to appear faded or washed out
  • An increased presence of floaters
  • Vision loss
  • Blank or dark areas in your field of vision

Diabetic retinopathy symptoms usually affect both eyes.

Risk Factors

If you are diabetic, caring for your eyes by undergoing routine eye exams and taking care of your body by controlling blood sugar levels are critical to preventing vision loss. There are several risk factors associated with diabetic eye complications, including: 

  • Poor blood sugar control
  • Smoking
  • High cholesterol 
  • High blood pressure
  • Pregnancy
  • Excess weight/obesity

Are There Any Treatments for Diabetic Retinopathy?

Today’s treatment options may improve your vision, even if you feel your eyesight has begun to deteriorate. Medications can be injected to reduce swelling, and laser surgery can be used to shrink and seal off swollen and leaking blood vessels — preserving and, in many cases, even improving vision. 

While certain treatments may work, frequent monitoring of your eyes coupled with managing your blood sugar levels can go a long way toward preventing or reducing diabetic retinopathy complications. 

If You Have Diabetes, Make Sure to: 

  • Control blood sugar and blood pressure to prevent long-term damage to the fine blood vessels within the retina.  
  • Keep a healthy lifestyle routine, especially during stressful times such as the COVID-19 pandemic. (Plus, while diabetics are in the high-risk category, your chances of developing serious COVID-19 related complications is lower if your diabetes is under control.)
  • Maintain a steady diet and exercise regimen to help the body and mind feel better. 
  • Quit smoking, if applicable; you can reach out to a medical professional for guidance.
  • Get yearly diabetic eye exams.

Preventing and managing diabetic retinopathy require a multi-disciplinary approach involving your eye doctor and other medical professionals. Your eye doctor will perform a comprehensive eye exam to determine whether you have diabetic retinopathy, assess its severity, and discuss preventative strategies as well as the latest treatment options. 

Contact Front Range Eye Health Center at 303-665-7797 to schedule your diabetic eye exam today, and to learn more about what you can do to protect your vision and general health.