What is Diabetic Retinopathy?
Diabetes affects millions of people every year, and the maintenance of this disease can often be difficult. If not treated properly, high blood glucose can affect more than just your sugar levels. Whether it is type 1, type 2 or gestational diabetes, it is possible to suffer health problems that are often overlooked.
Eye problems correlated to diabetes, such as diabetic retinopathy, are generally not conditions that serve as an initial concern for those who suffer from diabetes. However, it is important to take the possibility of optical issues into consideration when treating the disease.
Diabetic retinopathy is one of many eye conditions that stem from diabetes. It is caused by damage to the blood vessels in the light-sensitive tissue (called the retina) if blood sugars are not controlled properly. This condition can ultimately lead to permanent loss of vision if not treated in a timely manner.
Although there is no cure for diabetes, there are ways to make sure your eye care remains a priority.
Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy
Unfortunately, symptoms of diabetic retinopathy may not be visible in the early stages, but it is important to stay alert in order to catch them before they actively affect the vision.
Initial changes in vision may include:
- Dark areas of vision
- Difficulty perceiving colors
Failure to treat symptoms may lead to a more advanced stage of the condition called proliferative diabetic retinopathy. At this stage, new and fragile blood vessels begin to grow in the retina and are more prone to leakage, causing a higher chance of permanent vision loss.
Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy
Treatment to diabetic retinopathy in the early stages is important, as the condition can cause irreversible damage over time. Here are a few guidelines to follow in order to avoid permanent vision damage:
- Schedule an annual, diabetic dilated eye exam with Dr. Logan to catch abnormalities in its earliest stage
- Control the common diabetic symptoms, such as maintaining proper blood glucose levels. It is important to share your blood sugar and A1C results with Dr. Logan at your annual exam
- Monitor and maintain steady levels of blood pressure and cholesterol
Treatment for the proliferative stage of diabetic retinopathy is more involved and could require up to two or more sessions of scatter laser surgery. This surgery uses tiny laser burns to shrink abnormal blood vessels in the retina area. This treatment works best prior to the occurrence of any leakage in the new blood vessels.
Diabetic retinopathy is the most common cause of vision loss among those with diabetes and a leading cause of blindness among middle-aged adults.
If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about diabetic retinopathy or getting an annual comprehensive dilated eye exam, contact Logan Eye Care in Lake Mary, or schedule an appointment today.