They say "the only stupid question is the one not asked." So -- what's the difference between a regular eye exam with an ophthalmologist, and a "diabetic eye exam"? I had a dilated eye exam about two months prior to diagnosis, which satisfied the doc's office that I'd not need one for a year. Now I'm being told that a diabetic exam is different, but no one has explained what the difference is -- other than that it'd be billed to health rather than vision insurance, and it sounds like I'd have a copay for vision ... and part of the eye exam may not be covered under health.
So -- bottom line, what's the difference between "vision exam" and any diabetes checks? Just wondering.
Type 2, dx'd Jan 2011 with A1C 6.7. Metformin 500 mg twice daily, Oct 2012 A1c 5.3
The only difference I've noticed is that the opthalmologist looks harder for the various problems caused by diabetes, and then expects your next visit to be sooner. Also, the opthalmologist shouldn't expect to sell you glasses afterwards, since any glasses that work at your current blood glucose levels aren't likely to work well very long if you start changing those levels toward the proper levels.
My eye doc specializes in D and other diseases affecting the eyes. The exam is pretty much the same if you don't have any problems, but if you do, then the doc knows what has to be done.
As it happens, my eye doc and I know each other from some community activities, so I get to talk to him from time to time outside of the exam room. He tells me that one of the saddest things he has to deal with are the young diabetics that don't take care of their BS and have permanent eye damage before they come to see him. "It's tough to tell a 20-some year old that her partial blindness is now permanent."
Type 2 - complicated by surgery for pancreatic cancer
Most likely if you saw an Ophthalmologist you had good exam and would have caught any problems. The biggest difference I know of the difference from Optometrist and Ophthalmologist. I know that Ophthalmologist can treat eye disorders and his eye exam was the same pre and post diabetics for me. It is much more detailed that the few times I saw a optometrist and once I was diagnosed with glaucoma and cataracts I was sent to the ophthalmologist. I wanted contacts at one point in my life and the ophthalmologist didn’t do contacts so I was sent to an optometrist. I already have glaucoma and cataracts so I am watched very carefully. I am always asked my latest A1C numbers when I go for any eye checks. I am not sure for what I also get field of vision and they have photographed the back of my eyes. I would call and ask the ophthalmologist if he or she feels you need to come back in. If they say no, have them send your primary or endo a copy of their notes. My ophthalmologist not only sends my primary care his notes but the endo so that she has a copy for her records.