Diabetic retinopathy is a very serious condition, but there are many ways to keep it from having an impact on your vision and your livelihood.
Diabetic retinopathy is one of the leading causes of blindness among adults in the United States. One of the side effects of diabetes can be damage to blood vessels in the eye’s retina, ultimately leading to bleeding or leakage in the back of the eye. This can cause vision to become severely blurry, and even lead to total vision loss. Since there are often no overt symptoms of diabetic retinopathy in its early stages, it’s very important to have regular dilated eye exams – at least once each year – to detect and treat the condition in order to prevent any permanent damage to your vision.
Dr. Helga F. Pizio and her team of ophthalmologists at New Eyes offer advanced treatment options for diabetic retinopathy. If you have questions about diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of vision impairment related to this condition, please feel free to view our short video on diabetic retinopathy, or contact New Eyes today.
Risks of Diabetic Retinopathy
Those at a higher risk of developing diabetic retinopathy include:
- Patients who have Type II diabetes or borderline diabetes (pre-diabetic)
- Those who have had Type I diabetes for 10 years or longer
- Patients who smoke
- Patients who have high blood pressure
Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy
Although symptoms of diabetic retinopathy are typically not noticeable in its early stages, some signs of the condition may include:
- Vision that appears hazy or blurry
- Double vision
- Floaters – small dots, specks, lines, or clouds appearing across your vision
- Spotty vision
Again, these symptoms often do not show up until after visual damage has already begun to set in. An eye exam can detect diabetic retinopathy before symptoms – and vision impairment – occur.
Diabetic Retinopathy Prevention and Treatment
For patients who have been diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy, there are medications and other procedures available that can dramatically slow the progression of the condition and reduce the risk of blindness; however, damage that has already occurred cannot be reversed, which makes it vital to have regular eye exams and get your eyes checked as soon as you realize there may be a problem.
With that in mind, Dr. Pizio offers the following tips that can aide in the prevention of diabetic retinopathy:
- Maintain control of body weight and blood sugar levels – excess weight and uncontrolled blood sugar can make bleeding/leakage in the eyes worse, in addition to endangering the kidneys and nerves in virtually every part of the body
- Maintain control of cholesterol and blood pressure with diet and exercise – hypertension (high blood pressure) and high levels of cholesterol can make diabetic retinopathy worse
- Quit smoking – smoking can exacerbate retinal bleeding
- Have a dilated eye exam at least once a year
Diabetic retinopathy is a very serious condition, but there are many ways to keep it from having an impact on your vision and your livelihood. Comprehensive eye exams and some lifestyle changes can go a long way toward preventing the damage that can be caused by diabetic retinopathy.
For more information on diabetic retinopathy, or to schedule an eye exam here at New Eyes, please contact us today.