If you have diabetes type 1 or 2, you are at risk for getting diabetic retinopathy. This condition affects the eyes and can range anywhere from unnoticeable to severe. Your risk of having diabetic retinopathy increases depending on the type of diabetes you have, how long you’ve had it, the frequency at which your blood glucose changes, and how well controlled your sugars are.
Initially, you may not realize you even have diabetic retinopathy. Luckily there are steps you can make to diminish your chance of getting it. The signs of diabetic retinopathy include: a loss of central vision when reading or driving, blurred vision, holes in vision, seeing black spots, or the inability to perceive colors. If you have any of these problems, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor right away.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Diabetic retinopathy is diagnosed during an eye exam. The eye doctor will assess whether or not there are changes in the blood vessels within the eyes. He will also determine if the retina has become detached or swollen. Treatment comes in the form of laser photocoagulation, which seals leaking blood vessels. The procedure doesn’t hurt, but might make it hard for you to see color or hinder your vision at night. In other cases, you may require a virectomy, which removes blood that has leaked into the retina.
In order to help prevent the occurrence of diabetic retinopathy, work with your physician to create a plan to keep your blood pressure and blood sugar at proper levels. These efforts can slow down diabetic retinopathy and in certain cases prevent it. Be sure you have regular eye exams on a yearly basis so your eye doctor can assess the current health of your eyes. If you are diabetic and are pregnant, make sure you have an eye exam during your first trimester.