Eye Exams for Individuals with Diabetes or High Blood Pressure: Why They're Crucial for Vision Health

Discover the importance of routine eye exams for individuals with diabetes or high blood pressure and protect your vision with our helpful information.

Eye Exams for Individuals with Diabetes or High Blood Pressure: Why They're Crucial for Vision Health in Olympia

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 50% of adults with diabetes and 30% of adults with high blood pressure do not receive recommended eye care or regular eye exams.

Maintaining good eye health is essential to ensure clear vision and prevent eye diseases that can lead to blindness. Individuals with certain health conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, are at higher risk of developing eye problems. Therefore, they need to have routine eye exams to monitor their eye health and prevent complications. In this article, we will discuss what to expect during a routine eye exam for individuals with diabetes or high blood pressure.

American Family Vision Clinic

Why Routine Eye Exams are Important for Individuals with Diabetes or High Blood Pressure

People with diabetes or high blood pressure are at higher risk of developing eye problems such as diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma. These eye diseases can cause vision loss and blindness if left untreated. Regular eye exams conducted by our skilled optometrists can help detect eye problems early when they are easier to treat and prevent vision loss. Therefore, it is essential for individuals with diabetes or high blood pressure to have routine eye exams to monitor their eye health and prevent complications.

What to Expect During a Routine Eye Exam

A routine eye exam typically consists of several tests to evaluate your vision and eye health. For individuals with diabetes or high blood pressure, the eye exam may include additional tests to check for eye problems related to these conditions. Our caring optometrists use the latest technology to ensure accurate diagnosis and eye health management for all our patients.

Visual Acuity Test

This test measures how well you can see letters on a chart from a distance. This test helps determine if you need glasses or contact lenses to correct your vision.

Refraction Test

This test determines your exact prescription for glasses or contact lenses. The test involves looking through a device called a phoropter, which contains lenses of different strengths. You will be asked to choose which lens provides the clearest vision.

Eye Muscle Test

This test checks how well your eyes work together and how well they can move. The test involves following a moving object with your eyes while keeping your head still.

Glaucoma Test

This test checks for increased pressure inside your eyes, which can damage the optic nerve and cause vision loss. The test involves using a device called a tonometer to measure the pressure inside your eyes.

Dilated Eye Exam

This exam involves using eye drops to widen your pupils, allowing our eye doctor to examine the back of your eye, including the retina and optic nerve. With our state-of-the-art technology and highly trained optometrists, we strive to provide the best eye care services and eye health management for individuals with diabetes or high blood pressure.

Additional Tests for Individuals with Diabetes or High Blood Pressure

Our optometrist may recommend additional tests to provide the most accurate assessment of your eye health and address any concerns related to your diabetes or high blood pressure, ensuring optimal vision health.

Retinal Exam

This exam involves using a special camera to take pictures of the back of your eye, including the retina and optic nerve. The images are then examined by our eye doctor to detect any signs of diabetic retinopathy, a common complication of diabetes that can cause vision loss.

Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT)

The Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) is a non-invasive imaging test that uses light waves to take detailed pictures of the retina. The test can help detect and monitor eye problems such as macular edema and macular degeneration, which are common complications of diabetes.

Electroretinography (ERG) 

The ERG is a cutting edge device that bounces electromagnetic signals and measures the response against a large dataset to identify the onset and severity of eye disease. This is a powerful tool in identifying changes to ocular cellular health from diseases such as diabetes before permanent damage has occurred. 

Visual Field Test

This test measures your peripheral vision, which can be affected by glaucoma. The test involves looking straight ahead while lights are flashed in your peripheral vision.

What to Expect During a Routine Eye Exam
How can I find an eye doctor near me?

How can I find an eye doctor near me?

If you don’t already have a trusted optometrist or you live too far from our optometry clinic in Olympia, you could start your online search by typing in phrases such as "eye doctor near me," "optometrist near me," or "eye specialist near me."

Common Questions

An eye exam for hypertension and diabetes involves a comprehensive examination of the eyes to evaluate any signs of damage caused by high blood pressure or diabetes. Hypertension and diabetes can cause damage to the small blood vessels in the retina, leading to a condition called diabetic retinopathy or hypertensive retinopathy. An eye exam can help identify these conditions early, allowing for timely treatment to prevent vision loss.
For patients with diabetes, a dilated eye exam is necessary to detect early signs of diabetic retinopathy. During this exam, the pupils are dilated to allow our optometrist to examine the retina and optic nerve for any abnormalities. Diabetic patients are also evaluated for other eye conditions, such as cataracts and glaucoma, which may occur more frequently in individuals with diabetes.
The frequency of eye exams for diabetic patients depends on the severity of their condition. The American Diabetes Association recommends annual eye exams for diabetic patients without any signs of retinopathy. However, patients with signs of diabetic retinopathy or other eye conditions may require more frequent exams, commonly every 3-6 months.
The main difference between a routine eye exam and a diabetic eye exam is the focus on identifying and monitoring any signs of diabetic retinopathy. A routine eye exam may not necessarily include a dilated exam, which is necessary to examine the retina for signs of retinopathy. Furthermore a diabetic eye exam may include additional testing such as retinal photography and OCT imaging.
A routine eye exam may detect signs of diabetes, such as changes in the blood vessels in the retina or optic nerve. However, a dilated exam is necessary to detect diabetic retinopathy specifically.
Diabetics are referred for eye screening because they are at increased risk for developing diabetic retinopathy, which can cause vision loss if left untreated. Regular comprehensive eye exams can help detect this condition early, allowing for timely treatment and preservation of vision.
Yes, people with type 2 diabetes should have regular eye exams to evaluate for signs of diabetic retinopathy and other eye conditions associated with diabetes. The frequency of exams will depend on the severity of their condition, as determined by our optometrist. If you have diabetes or prediabetes and have not had an eye exam in over 1 year, please call us at (360) 491-2121 to schedule a dilated eye exam.
Dr. Zurcher cartoon

Protect Your Vision: Schedule a Routine Eye Exam Today if You Have Diabetes or High Blood Pressure

If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, make sure to schedule regular eye exams, at least once a year. By doing so, any eye problems can be detected early and treated promptly. Don't forget to inform us if you have diabetes or high blood pressure, as we may recommend more frequent exams or additional tests to monitor your eye health. Protect your vision and maintain good eye health by taking action today. Please call at (360) 491-2121 to schedule a comprehensive eye exam with us.

Patients searching for advanced medical eye care visit our clinic from all over Washington, and we are proud to be a leading provider of medical eye care services for patients from Olympia, Lakewood, Tacoma, and Lacey.


Such a nice optician. My grandson is only 4 and needs glasses. We were so sad, but he explained the issues, and we will follow up as he suggested.

Anna P.

I had such a good experience with the clinic. Very friendly staff and doctor, did not have to wait for long to be called, and was treated respectfully. Thanks, American Family.

June S.

Dr. Zurcher has gone above and beyond what any other eye doctor has ever done to figure out what is going on with my eyes. Very happy with American Family Vision.

Christine R.

Family Vision Clinic changed our lives! My daughter was frequently car sick, and she was getting headaches every day, often painful enough that they brought her to tears. We saw a string of doctors and therapists, but we made no progress. Finally, we found Dr. Levi Zurcher and his eye therapist Rain. After ten weeks of eye therapy my daughter no longer gets headaches, and she no longer gets car sick. Daily tears are a thing of the past. I really can’t say enough about this clinic. It was fascinating to watch Dr. Zurcher work. For the first time, someone who knew what they were doing was intently studying my daughter, really trying to figure out all of her eye issues, and his therapist Rain is one of the most patient and lovely people that I’ve ever had the good fortune to meet. We’re finished with eye therapy—yay!—and I have switched to American Family Vision Clinic for all of my family’s other eye health needs.

Lars Wulff

Very professional, yet kind and helpful. They do what they can to make the appointment comfortable. I was running a bit late, I made sure ti call. They were able to switch me with a patient who was already there, they treated me with respect, and helped my son have confidence by getting him the eye care he needed that day. Thank you so much! Would recommend to anyone. It's a blessing that they care enough to work with people who have all different types of insurance from work to state coverage.

Justin E.

The staff is friendly. The Doc is very knowledgeable. The office is family friendly and everyone is so patient with the little ones.

Amy Fagerness
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