What is Diabetes and Diabetic Retinopathy?
Diabetes can lead to a condition called diabetic retinopathy as well as other eye problems. Diabetic retinopathy (damage to the retina) is caused by complications of diabetes mellitus, which can eventually lead to blindness. It is an ocular manifestation of systemic disease, which affects up to 80% of all patients who have had diabetes for 10 years or more. Research indicates that at least 90% of new cases could be prevented if proper treatment and monitoring of the eyes is carried out on a regular basis.
What Are Symptoms?
The early stages of diabetic retinopathy have no visual symptoms requiring the signs to be caught via a comprehensive dilated eye examination with your eye doctor. These examinations are recommended by the American Optometric Association once a year to help find and treat issues like diabetic retinopathy and slow the progress. Other symptoms commonly associated with this condition include:
- Floaters and spots in your vision
- Blurred, or cloudy vision
- Dark or empty spot in the center of your vision
- Difficulty seeing at night
What Causes Diabetic Retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy is a rare, but serious condition that is found in people who suffer from diabetes. It causes gradual damage to the retina and is a serious, sight-threatening result of diabetes. Diabetes progressively damages the blood vessels in the retina causing them to leak blood and other fluids. This accumulation of fluids causes the retinal tissue to swell, resulting in cloudy or blurred vision. Left untreated, diabetic retinopathy can result in blindness.
What Are Treatment Options?
Treating your diabetes symptoms by controlling your sugars, watching your blood pressure and regular exercise, can go a long way at slowing the progression and formation of diabetic retinopathy. Laser treatment (photocoagulation) is a common recourse eye doctors turn to halt the blood and fluid leaks into the retina. Laser beams of light form small burns around the abnormal blood vessels which help to seal the leaks.
Call for a Consultation
Regular eye tests can help to spot the early signs of diabetic retinopathy and enable you to take action to control diabetes before it damages your body and your eyes. It is important to maintain regular health checks as there are often no early warning signs for diabetic conditions as in the case with diabetic retinopathy. Even macular edema, which may cause vision loss more rapidly, may not have any warning signs for some time. A person with macular edema is likely to have blurred vision, making it hard to do things like read or drive. In some cases, the vision will get better or worse during the day. Located at two convenient Denver locations–King Soopers Shopping Center off of South Monaco Parkway in Denver and at the Brentwood Shopping Center on Federal Boulevard–Optical Masters can offer you top-rate eye care services and help you with your eye health goals.