Diabetes is a disease that interferes with the body’s ability to use and store sugar and can cause many health problems. One, called diabetic retinopathy, can weaken and cause changes in the small blood vessels that nourish your eye’s retina, the delicate, light sensitive lining of the back of the eye. These blood vessels may begin to leak, swell or develop brush-like branches. In the early stages of diabetes, patients don’t know they have a problem; in the worst cases,diabetic retinopathy can blind patients.
In some cases, fluid leakage in the central area of the retina can cause distorted or blurred vision in the early stages, and central vision loss if it progresses to end stage. In other cases, new blood vessel growth in any part of the retina can scar and shrink, leading to retinal detachment causing blindness.
Treatment of Diabetic Eye Disease
If left untreated, diabetic retinopathy can lead to blindness. Diabetics are encouraged to take their prescribed medication as directed by their physician, exercise regularly, watch their diet, and have regular eye examinations in order to help prevent diabetic retinopathy. A timely referral may be made to a specialist for surgery to help preserve vision.
To detect diabetic retinopathy, your optometrist can look inside your eyes with an instrument called an ophthalmoscope that lights and magnifies the blood vessels in your eyes. If you have diabetic retinopathy, laser and other surgical treatments can be used to reduce its progression and decrease the risk of vision loss. Early treatment is important because once damage has occurred, the effects are usually permanent.
Prevention of Diabetes in Your Eyes
Call 210-826-3937 to schedule a comprehensive eye examination today. Only a thorough eye examination is able to look for changes in the eye as a result of the disease. Maintaining good blood sugar control can delay or prevent the serious consequences of diabetic retinopathy.