Diabetic Retinopathy and Diabetic Macular Edema are best diagnosed with a comprehensive dilated eye exam. For this exam, eye drops placed in your eyes widen (dilate) your pupils to allow your doctor to better view inside your eyes. During the exam, your eye doctor will look for:
- Abnormal blood vessels
- Swelling, blood or fatty deposits in the retina
- Growth of new blood vessels and scar tissue
- Bleeding in the clear, jelly-like substance that fills the center of the eye (vitreous)
- Retinal detachment
- Abnormalities in your optic nerve
The following exams can also be performed to provide information for treatment and follow-up:
- Optical coherence tomography (OCT): Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a non-invasive imaging test. OCT uses light waves to take cross-section pictures of your retina. With OCT, your ophthalmologist can see each of the retina’s distinctive layers. This allows your ophthalmologist to map and measure their thickness. These measurements help with diagnosis.
- Fluorescein angiography: A fluorescein angiography is a medical procedure in which a fluorescent dye is injected into the bloodstream. The dye highlights the blood vessels in the back of the eye and where there any blockages and leaks so they can be photographed.
- Colour fundus photographs: are non-invasive photographs of the back of your eye. Retinal imaging takes a digital picture of the back of your eye. It shows the retina (the part of the back of your eye where light and images are processed), the optic disk (a spot on the retina that holds the optic nerve, which sends information to the brain), and blood vessels.