While diabetic mothers-to-be are apt to visit their medical doctors frequently and carefully monitor their sugar levels, many of them don’t schedule or receive proper retinal screening exams throughout their pregnancies. In fact, in a study of 300 pregnant women with type I or type II diabetes, 40 percent did not receive the recommended two retinal exams during two trimesters of their pregnancies.
Patients and doctors alike understand that diabetic retinopathy can be a serious condition in pregnant women, so planning and attending a retinal exam during two of the trimesters is a critical process.
In the study mentioned above, 26 percent of the women who received adequate screening were found to have worsening diabetic retinopathy, which is a significant reason to reinforce the importance of retinal screening in pregnancy. Women in the study who had a higher systolic blood pressure reading at their initial prenatal checkup and had the lowest HbA1c were the ones most likely to show increased diabetic retinopathy.
This stands to reason since diabetes can be significantly harder to control during pregnancy and can also form for non-diabetics. Some participating doctors found that women with normal vision at the beginning of their pregnancies had a harder time reading their glucose meters by their last trimester. Such a significant amount of vision loss stresses the importance of regular retinal examination throughout pregnancy.
With advancements in ultra-widefield retinal display imaging (UWF), Optos can help your diabetic patients, especially when they’re pregnant. An optomap retinal examination is a fast and non-invasive way to view the retina. Saving the images and making a comparison at the next scheduled exam will help you detect the development or advancement of diabetic retinopathy and begin treatment as soon as possible.
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