Diabetes is a very serious disease. Uncontrolled diabetes can result in a number of complications that can affect many organs and parts of the body. One of these complications can affect your eyes. It is a condition called diabetic retinopathy.
Q: What is Diabetic Retinopathy?
A: This condition can develop in anyone with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Occasionally, can be the first sign you have Diabetes before you're ever been diagnosed. Retinopathy can be the first sign you have diabetes before you’ve ever been diagnosed. It causes damage to the blood vessels in the retina. If diabetic retinopathy goes untreated long enough, it can result in blindness.
Q: Who Is At Risk For Diabetic Retinopathy?
A: Anyone who has type 1 or type 2 diabetes can develop diabetic retinopathy. However, there are risk factors that can increase your risk of developing this condition:
The length of time you have had diabetes: The longer you have diabetes, the higher your risk is of developing this condition.
Poor control of your diabetes including not exercising or eating right, not taking your oral medication or insulin, or not following up regularly with your PCP: If you have don’t have proper control over your blood sugar levels, you are a greater risk of diabetic retinopathy. Including not exercising or eating right, no taking your oral medication or insulin, or not following up regularity with your pep.
High blood pressure
Use of tobacco products
Q: What Are the Symptoms Of Diabetic Retinopathy?
A: In the early stages, this condition often shows no symptoms yet is damaging your retina, sometimes permanently. As the disease progresses, you could experience:
Impaired color vision
Dark areas in your vision
In the late stages, complete vision loss or blindness
Q: How Is Diabetic Retinopathy Diagnosed?
A: This condition can be diagnosed during a dilated eye exam or with fundus photography and OCT imaging (technologies we offer here at Riviera Opticare). If you have diabetes, your eye doctor will want to see you at a minimum once a year. During the exam, they will check for abnormal blood vessels in the retina. They will also look for new blood vessels, bleeding or fluid buildup in the retina and any abnormalities in your optic nerve.
Q: How is Diabetic Retinopathy Treated?
A: In the early stages, ocular treatment may not be necessary. However, they will immediately recommend better control of blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol with diet, exercise, and regular follow-ups with your PCP. Your optometrist will then monitor your condition closely to determine when treatment is needed. Whey they decide that your condition has advanced enough where treatment is warranted, there are a few treatment options.
Photocoagulation: This is a laser treatment that can slow or stop the blood and fluid that leaks in the eye.
Panretinal Photocoagulation: This treatment creates thermal burns, leading to tissue coagulation, and improved oxygen flow to the retina.
Vitrectomy: This is a surgical procedure where the gelatinous material inside the eye is removed to remove blood from inside the eye.
Medication: Medication can be injected in the eye to stop new blood vessels from growing.
Diabetic retinopathy can result in very serious complications. This is why it is essential to make regular appointments with Riviera Opticare. Our doctors of optometry treat patients in both Mesa and Scottsdale. Early intervention is vital to protection from permanent vision loss. If you need new glasses, we also have hundreds of designer frames, making it simple to find the perfect frame to fit your face and style.