Diabetic retinopathy occurs when there is damage to the retina. This happens there are complications of diabetes. It is the leading cause of blindness in adults in America.
This condition affects people with diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy affects up to 80 percent of all patients who have had diabetes for 10 years or more. The longer you have diabetes, the higher your chances become that you will develop diabetic retinopathy.
90 percent of new diabetic retinopathy cases could be reduced with preventative monitoring. This is possible when patients see their eye doctor for regular eye exams and receive proper treatment.
There are many forms of diabetic retinopathy. Only your doctor can determine the form you have. With one form, blood vessels may swell and leak fluid. In another, abnormal new blood vessels grow on the surface of the retina.
How Does Diabetic Retinopathy Affect My Eyes?
In the early stages of diabetic retinopathy, many people do not notice any vision changes. There are very few noticeable symptoms of diabetic retinopathy.
If an eye doctor does not catch diabetic retinopathy early, you may notice mild blurriness with your near or intermediate vision. You may also see floaters. In severe cases of diabetic retinopathy, a sudden loss of vision may occur.
Unfortunately, diabetic retinopathy can result in permanent damage that is not reversible. Once vision loss has occurred, it cannot come back. But if the condition is caught in time, prescribed treatments may slow the development and prevent vision loss.
How Do Doctors Diagnose Diabetic Related Eye Problems?
If you have diabetes and are concerned about diabetic retinopathy, schedule an appointment with Dr. Pairolero or Dr. Langhorst for a comprehensive eye exam. At your appointment, make sure to include it on your patient history form.
Many patients often ask, what does a diabetic eye exam include? Diabetic eye exams differ from traditional eye exams. They typically take a few extra steps for monitoring the retina and blood vessels of the retina. The main tests involved with diabetic retinopathy include:
• Dilated retinal exam
• Tonometry test
• Vision test
How Will My Eye Doctor Treat Diabetic Eye Diseases?
Your treatment options will depend on your specific condition. In most cases, your optometrist will recommend managing your diabetes. They will also recommend you have more than one eye exam per year. Some treatment choices your eye doctor may recommend include:
- Cataract surgery
- Laser treatment
- Anti-VEGF eye injections
If you have several eye conditions, this is something that your eye doctor will consider when treating your diabetic retinopathy.
How Can I Prevent Blindness?
If you are diabetic, it is critical that you have routine eye exams. This could be the difference between seeing or not seeing. Early detection and treatment are the main ways of lowering the risk of blindness. See your eye doctor for an annual eye exam to keep your eyes healthy.