One of the many complications of diabetes is the damage the disease can cause to vision. Called diabetic retinopathy, the condition causes damage to the blood vessels of the retina and can develop in type 1 and 2 diabetes patients.
The longer you have diabetes (and the less controlled your blood sugar), the more likely it is that you will develop diabetic retinopathy. That’s because prolonged high blood sugar levels are what damages the blood vessels in the retina, causing them to leak.
Diabetic retinopathy may cause no symptoms – at first
You may not realize your diabetes is affecting your vision, or vision problems may be so mild that they go unnoticed. And because diabetic retinopathy can develop with few or no symptoms, many diabetics go undiagnosed.
Eventually, diabetic retinopathy can cause blindness.
That’s why it’s so important for diabetic patients to be monitored yearly by their eye doctor for changes in the retina. Otherwise, by the time you notice a problem, you could be left with few or no treatment options. The eye doctor can spot changes that signify the presence of the disease early on, when the disease is most treatable, and before you have even noticed any problem.
Early detection of diabetic retinopathy is critical
People with diabetes should have yearly dilated eye exams, even if your vision seems fine. And the disease usually damages both eyes. If you experience any problems with your vision you should see your eye doctor immediately. Call today for an appointment: 561.338.7722. Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy can include:
- Floaters or spots
- Blurred changing vision or loss of vision
- Difficulty seeing colors
- Dark or empty areas in vision
Effective treatments are available
If your eyes are at risk of vision loss due to diabetic retinopathy, the best time for successful treatments is before that happens. The disease can’t be cured, but effective treatments, including laser and vitrectomy surgery, can preserve vision and reduce the risk of loss. Controlling blood glucose levels, as well as weight, high blood pressure, cholesterol and anemia can also reduce the risk and progression of diabetic retinopathy.