Diabetic eye disease usually includes the following:
- Diabetic retinopathy - Damage to the blood vessels in the retina, one of the leading causes of vision impairment among adults with diabetes.
- Cataract - Clouding of the eye's lens, they develop at an earlier age in people with diabetes.
- Glaucoma - Increase in fluid pressure inside the eye leading to optic nerve damage and loss of vision. A person with diabetes is almost twice as likely to get glaucoma as other adults.
It’s essential to keep your blood sugar levels and high blood pressure under tight control. Both of these factors can make eye problems worse. Visit your eye care professional at least once a year for a dilated eye exam. Having your regular doctor look at your eyes is not enough – only ophthalmologists
can detect and treat retinopathy.
If you have diabetes, what can you do to protect your vision?
If you have diabetes make sure you get a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year unless your doctor advises more frequent visits. You can develop diabetic retinopathy and still see fine. It’s important to remember that regardless of whether you have symptoms, early detection and timely treatment can prevent vision loss.
Controlling blood sugar levels, elevated blood pressure, and cholesterol will help your overall health as well as help protect your vision. Talk to your doctor to see if a blood sugar control program is right for you.
What treatment options are recommended for diabetic retinopathy?
If you have diabetes, the good news is that with improved methods of diagnosis and treatment only a small percentage of people who develop retinopathy have serious vision problems. The best protection against diabetic retinopathy is to have regular medical eye examinations. Click here
to learn more about diabetic retinopathy.
During the first three stages of diabetic retinopathy, generally no treatment is necessary other than regular eye exams. However, when macular edema has begun, or if diabetic retinopathy has advanced to the proliferative stage, surgical treatment is usually required. Macular edema is when the macula—the part of the retina that provides sharp central vision—swells from leaking fluid resulting in blurred vision.
Laser surgery is often helpful in treating diabetic retinopathy and can greatly reduce the chance of severe visual impairment. Macular edema is also treated with laser surgery using focal laser treatment. Focal laser treatment stabilizes vision and can reduce the risk of vision loss by 50 percent. Click here
to learn more about laser surgery that can be performed right here in our Surgery Center.
People with diabetic retinopathy greatly reduce the chance of becoming blind when they get timely and appropriate treatment. Although treatments have high success rates, they do not cure diabetic retinopathy. You should continue with regular exams and you may need treatment more than once to protect your sight.
What treatment options are recommended for glaucoma?Glaucoma
is much more common among those with diabetes. It can be treated a number of ways including eye drops, pills, laser surgery, traditional surgery or a combination of these methods. The goal of treatment is to prevent loss of vision, since vision loss from glaucoma is irreversible. Click here
to read more about our treatment options for glaucoma.
What treatment options are recommended for cataracts?Cataracts
develop at an earlier stage for people with diabetes. When symptoms first appear, you may be able to improve your vision temporarily by using new or stronger glasses, magnification, better lighting or other visual aids. However, surgery is the only way to effectively treat a cataract.
Cataract surgery is a simple, relatively painless procedure to regain vision. Cataract surgery is tremendously successful in restoring vision for millions of Americans each year.
If you have diabetes, by working in partnership with your doctor and taking good care of your health, vision loss is largely preventable.