Fortunately, it takes 15 to 20 years of poor diabetic control for your child to develop eye problems. Unfortunately, that means that he may be only 30 years old when his vision begins to deteriorate. This can be prevented by keeping his hemoglobin A1c at 7 percent or below as much as possible (I discuss hemoglobin A1c earlier in this chapter).
An eye examination must be done annually to check for diabetic eye disease called retinopathy (see Chapter 5). An ophthalmologist or an optometrist can perform the exam; as a side note, it has been shown that no other doctor does as good a job with the exam as these two professionals. Make sure you insist that your doctor arrange for your child to have this examination annually.
During the exam, your child's eye is treated with drops to enlarge the pupils so that the doctor can see most of the back of the eye. He also measures the pressure in the eye and the appearance of the lens of the eye.
Fortunately, excellent treatments are available for diabetic eye disease, as you find out in Chapter 5. If it's discovered early by this examination, blindness is usually prevented in patients with T1DM.
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