Protect Yourself from the Complications of Diabetic Eye Disease
If you have diabetes, you are at a higher risk of developing certain types of eye disease with the potential to cause irreversible vision loss and blindness. But with the help of the knowledgeable eye doctors at Aucello EyeCare Center, you can lower your chances of losing vision to diabetes-related causes. We strongly encourage you to have regular eye exams with our doctors, which allows us to keep a close eye on your ocular health and vision and stop any problems in their earliest stages.
What Is Diabetic Eye Disease?
The most common type of diabetic eye disease is diabetic retinopathy, which affects the tiny blood vessels that nourish the retina, the light-sensitive tissue lining the back wall of the eye. High levels of sugar in the blood can cause these blood vessels to swell or leak blood and fluid. In some cases, new, abnormal blood vessels can grow on the surface of the retina.
In its early stages, diabetic retinopathy may not cause any noticeable symptoms. As the disease progresses, it can cause blurry vision, dark or empty spots in the central visual field, as well as floaters.
If diabetic retinopathy is left untreated, it can lead to other complications. For example, the abnormal blood vessels can lead to growth of scar tissue, which can tug at the retina and pull it away from its normal position at the back of the eye (a condition called retinal detachment).
Another consequence of diabetic retinopathy is diabetic macular edema, in which the leaking blood vessels cause swelling in the macula, or the region of the retina responsible for clear central vision. Macular edema can cause blurry or blind spots in the central field of vision.
People with diabetes are also at a higher risk of glaucoma and cataracts.
Retinal Evaluation and Management
Because diabetic eye disease often does not cause visual symptoms in its early stages, our doctors encourage anyone with diabetes to have comprehensive eye exams once a year or at the first sign of any troubling changes in vision.
During an eye exam, we use highly advanced technology to inspect the inside of your eye, including the retina, vitreous and other internal structures. We are looking for any signs of a problem, such as changes to the blood vessels, swelling or changes in the lens. We can perform special testing to evaluate the blood flow through your retina, and take images of your retina to help us monitor anything suspicious over time. We may also perform a visual field test to measure your ability to see straight ahead and to the side.
We will discuss any findings with you and lay out the available treatment options.
Treating Diabetic Eye Disease
The treatment for diabetic eye disease depends on the type and severity of the condition. Laser treatment can help to seal off leaking blood vessels in cases of diabetic retinopathy. Medications called anti-VEGF drugs can be injected into the eye to inhibit the growth of new, abnormal blood vessels. Corticosteroid medications can also be used to reduce swelling and inflammation inside the eye.
Preventing Diabetic Eye Disease
Although there is no certain way to prevent diabetic eye disease, the best thing you can do to avoid complications is manage your diabetes with the help of your primary care doctor or endocrinologist. Keeping blood sugar levels and blood pressure under control is crucial. You can also reduce your risk by following healthy lifestyle habits, such as eating a sensible diet and exercising regularly. You should also take your medications as prescribed and attend all doctor’s appointments.
Contact Aucello EyeCare Center
To schedule an eye examination with the team at Aucello EyeCare Center, please call or email us today.