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Casey Optical Co

Albuquerque, NM

Diabetic Eye Exam

Albuquerque, NM

Diabetic Eye Exam

Having diabetes puts you at a higher risk of developing serious eye diseases that can potentially threaten your vision and eye health. Diabetic eye exams are crucial for maintaining healthy eyes and preserving vision. These exams detect early signs of diabetic eye disease and ensure timely treatment before significant damage occurs.  

At Casey Optical Co. in Albuquerque, we specialize in diabetic eye exams and treating diabetic eye disease. Our team, led by Dr. Christine Kniffen, is here to help you detect and manage any potential issues related to diabetes. 

What is diabetic eye disease?     

Diabetic eye disease is a group of eye conditions that can affect diabetics with consistently high blood sugar levels. These diseases can lead to blurred vision and blindness and often have no symptoms in the early stages.   

Diabetic eye disease occurs when high blood sugar levels damage the blood vessels in the back of the eye, causing them to leak fluid and swell. Over time, new abnormal blood vessels can form, leading to scarring or dangerously high eye pressure.  

Here are some of the conditions that individuals with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing:

Diabetic retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is an eye condition that can cause vision loss or blindness. It occurs when high blood sugar levels damage blood vessels in the retina (a thin layer of tissue that lines the back of the eye).

There are usually no symptoms in the early stages of diabetic retinopathy. However, as the condition progresses, the blood vessels can bleed into the vitreous—the gel-like fluid that fills the eye—leading to significant vision problems. 

Your risk of developing diabetic retinopathy increases the longer you have diabetes. Another cause for concern with diabetic retinopathy is pregnancy. If you have diabetes and get pregnant or develop diabetes while pregnant (gestational diabetes), you are at high risk of developing diabetic retinopathy and should see an eye doctor regularly. 


Cataracts are a clouding of the natural lens in the eye. They develop when proteins in the lens clump together, making it harder to see the world around you.  

Cataracts are a common eye condition that often develops as we age. However, people with diabetes tend to develop cataracts more frequently and at an earlier age than people who don’t have diabetes.  

Diabetic macular edema   

Diabetic macular edema is a complication of diabetes that occurs when fluid builds up in the maculathe part of the retina responsible for clear, sharp central vision. This build-up can cause swelling, also known as edema, in the macula and lead to vision problems or even blindness if left untreated. 


Diabetes also increases your risk of developing glaucoma. Glaucoma causes damage to the optic nerve, which is responsible for transmitting visual signals from the eye to the brain. This damage can be caused by increased pressure in the eye or other factors like injury or disease. 

Glaucoma is sometimes called the “silent thief of sight” because it can damage the optic nerve in the early stages without causing pain or noticeable symptoms. That’s why regular eye exams are essential in detecting glaucoma early on when it’s most treatable. 

Diagnosing diabetic eye disease    

At Casey Optical Co., Dr. Kniffen uses her expertise and advanced diagnostic technology to detect diabetic eye disease in its earliest stages. By catching these conditions early on, she can provide personalized treatment plans to prevent vision loss and protect your overall eye health. 

During a diabetic eye exam, Dr. Kniffen will perform a thorough assessment of your eye health, including pupil dilation to obtain a clear view of your retina, optic nerve, and blood vessels in the back of your eye. In some cases, she may also use optical coherence tomography (OCT) to create three-dimensional images of the blood vessels in your eyes. 

Schedule a diabetic eye exam in Albuquerque    

Even if you feel like your vision is fine, it’s still essential to schedule regular eye exams with an optometrist since many eye diseases have no noticeable symptoms in their early stages. Our eye care experts are here to help you manage your symptoms and prevent vision loss. Schedule an appointment with Casey Optical Co. for a diabetic eye exam in Albuquerque today.