Diabetes is a condition that keeps the body for being able to use and store sugar properly, causing too much sugar to be circulating in the blood. This can create many serious health problems and damage organs throughout the body, including our precious eyes.
Diabetes damages the blood vessels in the retina, causing progressive damage. The retinal tissue will leak blood and other fluids and swell, causing cloudy and/or blurred vision, usually in both eyes. If the condition goes untreated, diabetic retinopathy threatens sight and can even cause blindness.
Treatment for diabetes can help protect your vision
When the diseases is diagnosed, monitored and treated, blood sugar levels can be controlled and blurry distance vision should improve. In addition, controlling blood sugar levels can slow the onset and progression of diabetic retinopathy.
Diabetic patients need annual eye exams. Here’s why
The American Optometric Association recommends that people with diabetes have an annual comprehensive dilated eye exam. This allows us to check your eyes for changes in the retina. In the early stages, diabetic retinopathy can develop with few or no symptoms. Without yearly monitoring, patients can go undiagnosed for years, ultimately left with no treatment options by the time the disease shows symptoms, such as:
- Spots or floaters
- Blurred vision
- Dark or empty spot in the center of vision
- Difficulty seeing at night
Some of these signs are harmless in patients who don’t have diabetes, or could be signs of other, less serious vision problems. So for diabetic patients, yearly, dilated exams are crucial for early, treatable detection of diabetic retinopathy. Call for your appointment today: 561.338.7722.
Preventing or slowing development of diabetic retinopathy
Make sure you always take your prescribed medication, plus follow your diet and exercise plan. People with diabetes should also avoid alcohol and tobacco.
Treatment of diabetic retinopathy
Treatment will vary, depending on the extent of the disease, but could include:
- Laser surgery to seal leaking blood vessels and/or keep other blood vessels from leaking
- Eye injections to decrease inflammation and/or stop formation of new blood vessels
- Surgery to remove and replace gel-like fluid vitreous in back of eye
- Surgery to repair retinal detachment