Diabetic retinopathy is a condition that can affect anyone with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you will need to work with an eye doctor to prevent or treat this common condition. For any diabetic, understanding all the aspects of this disorder will help you stay healthy. Here’s a guide to all you need to know about this vision problem.
An Introduction to Diabetic Retinopathy
This condition is caused by damage to the blood vessels in the retina, which is the light-sensitive tissue on the backside of the eyeball. This occurs because high blood sugar blocks the retina’s vessels, cutting off the blood supply. The retina tries to grow new vessels, which do not develop properly because of the lack of blood and start to leak. Those who’ve had diabetes for several years and don’t control their blood sugar are more likely to experience it. Both eyes are usually affected.
Signs & Symptoms
The early stages may not cause any symptoms. You might also have only mild vision difficulty, which can be difficult to recognize. As the condition progresses and more damage occurs, signs will begin to manifest. This includes seeing dark or empty spots, or blurred or fluctuating eyesight. Patients may have altered color vision or eventually experience blindness.
The best way to prevent this condition is to catch it as early as possible. If you have diabetes, visit your eye doctor every year for an eye exam and have them check your dilation, even if you have not noticed any changes in eyesight. Keep your blood sugar level, blood pressure, and cholesterol under control. Proper diabetes management, such as healthy eating and physical exercise, will also help.
Your treatment plan will depend on how far the condition has progressed. Mild forms typically do not require treatment beyond managing blood sugar levels. A more advanced case may require surgical intervention. Your eye doctor may use laser treatments such as photocoagulation to stop blood and fluid leakage, or panretinal photocoagulation to shrink abnormal blood vessels. Vitrectomy is another surgical procedure using a small incision to remove blood and scar tissue from the area to improve eyesight.
If you have been diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy, get treatment at West Valley Vision Center in Fairbanks, AK. This eye doctor offers thorough eye exams and state-of-the-art laser technology for effective vision care. Whether you’re facing eye disease or require new prescription glasses, they will be happy to assist. Learn more about the conditions they treat online or call (907) 479-4700 to schedule your appointment.