Diabetic Eye Disease
Diabetes is a chronic condition that can cause a number of health problems, including vision damage that may result in blindness. Diabetes damages the blood vessels and may cause fluid to leak into the eye or result in inner-eye bleeding that causes irreversible vision loss. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with diabetes, it is important to take steps now to manage this disease and reduce the risk of vision loss. By taking steps now with regular check-ups and preventative care, you can control your diabetes and prevent serious vision loss or blindness.
Diabetic Retinopathy: Know Your Risk Factors and Warnings Signs
Diabetic retinopathy is one of the most common diabetic complications affecting the eye. With diabetic retinopathy, irreversible damage occurs to the retina when blood vessels in the eye begin to leak. This leakage reduces blood supply to the retina, starving the retina of needed oxygen. Remaining blood vessels are weaker and more prone to breakage. If these vessels leak fluid into the center of the retina, known as the macula, severe vision loss may occur. In some cases, the macula may even swell, causing a serious condition known as a macular edema. Without prompt treatment, a macular edema can result in permanent vision loss. Diabetic retinopathy is a condition that can develop in anyone who has type 1 or type 2 diabetes. The longer you have diabetes and the less controlled your blood sugar levels are, the more likely you are to develop diabetic retinopathy.
Diabetic retinopathy can be difficult to diagnosis in its earliest stages since it causes no obvious symptoms. As the condition progresses, however, you may notice symptoms such as dark floating spots (“floaters”), blurred vision, impaired color vision, and dark or empty areas in your vision. Your diabetes must be carefully managed in order to prevent vision loss. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you should receive a yearly vision exam complete with dilation. Since obvious warning symptoms only occur once the disease enters a more advanced stage, diagnostic screenings are the best way to detect the disease in its earliest, most treatable stages. If your vision suddenly becomes blurry, hazy or spotty, contact our Kennesaw eye doctor for a prompt exam.
Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy
Treatment depends on the stage and severity of diabetic retinopathy. For mild and moderate non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy, the best treatment may be to better control your diabetes. If you are diagnosed with proliferative diabetic retinopathy or a macular edema, you may need eye surgery. Treatment options include focal laser treatment to stop or slow the leakage of blood in the eye and scatter laser treatment, which can shrink abnormal blood vessels.
A diabetes diagnosis does not have to end with vision loss or blindness. Proactive care can protect your vision for years to come. Schedule an appointment with our Kennesaw optometrists to learn more. Call Hobson Eye Associates at 770-424-2020.