Uncontrolled diabetes can cause several complications in various parts of the body, including the eyes. The condition is called diabetic retinopathy, and it can occur in people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Because this condition is so serious, annual eye exams with Romanoff Vision are essential.
What Is Diabetic Retinopathy?
When your blood sugar levels are high, it can cause damage to the blood vessels in the retina, causing them to swell or leak. The condition can also cause new blood vessels to form. These changes in your eyes can cause permanent vision loss.
Who Is At Risk For Diabetic Retinopathy?
Anyone with diabetes can develop diabetic retinopathy; however, certain factors can increase your risk. These include:
- The length of time you have had diabetes
- Poor control of your diabetes
- Having high blood pressure
- Having high cholesterol
- Being Hispanic, Native American, or African-American
What Are the Symptoms Of Diabetic Retinopathy?
In the early stages, diabetic retinopathy shows no symptoms. As the disease progresses, you can begin to experience:
- Blurry vision
- Fluctuating vision
- Impaired color vision
- Empty areas in your vision
- Vision loss
How Is Diabetic Retinopathy Diagnosed?
Diabetic retinopathy can be detected during an eye exam. Your eye doctor will dilate your eyes to check for blood vessels that are leaking or swollen, the growth of new blood vessels, and abnormalities in your optic nerve.
If your ophthalmologist suspects that you have diabetic retinopathy, they will perform a fluorescein angiography. During this test, the dye would be injected in your arm that would travel to the eye's blood vessels. This will allow your op to find the blood vessels that are leaking fluid, closed, or broken down.
How Is Diabetic Retinopathy Treated?
In the early stages, you may not need any treatment, but your ophthalmologist will want to monitor your condition regularly. In the later stages, there are a few treatment options available.
- Photocoagulation: This is a laser treatment that can slow or stop the fluid and blood in the eye.
- Scatter laser treatment: This procedure is effective in shrinking abnormal blood vessels.
- Vitrectomy: During the procedure, your eye doctor would create a tiny incision in your eye to remove blood from the vitreous. It is also helpful in removing scar tissue that can tug on the retina.
- Medication injections: Vascular endothelial growth factor inhibitors (VEGF) can be injected into the eye to stop the growth of new blood vessels. This medication can block the signals that the body sends to create new blood vessels.
If you have diabetes, regular eye exams with Romanoff Vision in Sylvania are essential to prevent permanent vision loss. If you already have diabetic retinopathy, our ophthalmologist will want to monitor your condition closely to prevent permanent vision loss. To schedule an appointment, give us a call today.