Diabetic Eye Disease
What is Diabetic Eye Disease?
Diabetic eye disease must be caught early to preserve vision. The most serious complication is when the retina, the neuro-sensory part of the eye, becomes affected. Retinopathy is usually present within 5 years of getting diabetes. In the United States, diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness among adults.
The retina is rich in blood vessels that normally do not leak. Diabetes causes these blood vessels to burst and leak fluid, resulting in vision loss.
Fortunately, advances in medical therapeutics and lasers have allowed ophthalmologists to treat leaking blood vessels. However, the best outcomes occur when the leakage is caught early. So if you feel you may have this disease, contact Eye Doctors Hawaii, let Dr Chang do a full eye exam. The exam only takes a few minutes and something as important as your health and vision is not something you should take a chance on.
What causes Diabetic Eye Disease?
Over a long period of time, high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) and other abnormalities in metabolism found in people with diabetes may damage the blood vessels in the body. This harm to the blood vessels in your eye, leads to poor circulation of the blood to different parts of the body. Since your body is not getting the proper amount of nutrients and oxygen, due to the poor circulation, the eye organ can damage. Not only is the eye sensitive to the lack of oxygen and nutrients but so are other vital organs like your heart, kidneys and your brain! That’s why it’s extremely important to maintain a healthy diet because like your parents use to always say when you were younger (eat your veggies!) it actually is very true. Diet will affect your organs including your eyes.
- Gradual, progressive blurring or distortion of vision
- Sudden, severe vision loss
- Floaters or fluctuating vision
- Retinal Lasers
- Intravitreal injections
It is important to recognize that people with diabetic retinopathy may not necessarily have visual changes even in more advanced stages.
It is important and mandatory that people with diabetes mellitus have their eyes examined at least annually.
If you feel you have any of these symptoms listed above, please call us or request an appointment by clicking on the button below. You should not take a chance when it comes to your health and vision. We can do a thorough eye exam in a few minutes with some of the most sophisticated advanced vision equipment available today. We’ll know right away if you have Diabetic Eye Disease or if it’s something else, perhaps it’s nothing, but it’s always best to check it out. Call us today, we care about your vision.
FAQ About Diabetic Eye Disease
How is the eye damaged by Diabetes?
In the early form of diabetic retinopathy, the center of the retina (macula) may become involved by swelling (edema). This macular swelling can usually be stopped by laser treatment or injections. The problem is that patients may not perceive macular swelling until the swelling is advanced. Routine examinations allow eye doctors to detect swelling early, allowing for early intervention to preserve vision.
In the most advanced forms of diabetic retinopathy, new blood vessels grow uncontrollably and wreak havoc. These vessels can exert traction on the retina resulting in a retinal detachment, which can result in permanent vision loss despite heroic surgical efforts.
Can diabetes cause me to go blind?
First we want to clarify what the definition for being blind is. Being blind is the state of being totally sightless in both eyes. A completely blind individual is unable to see at all. Diabetic eye disease, if not treated can cause permanent visual loss, which may be mild or severe. However, given the modern treatment options available in this day and age, it would be rare today for diabetic eye disease to cause the total inability to see or blindness. However, Proliferative diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema, if untreated can result in significant loss of vision.
The bottom line is, don’t risk it. If you feel you are having problems with your vision and your eye, call us. We can set up an appointment to do a full eye exam and check to see if you have Diabetic Eye Disease. If we find that you do, we have ways we can begin treatment right away. The eye exam is only a few minutes and catching an issue like Diabetic Eye Disease early is key to preventing vision loss.
What Kind of Treatment is Available for Diabetic Eye Disease?
One of the best treatment for Diabetic Eye Disease is to treat the actual diabetes. Monitoring your glycosylated hemoglobin (hemoglobin A1C, Hb1AC) is the best assessment of the overall level of blood sugar control.
For diabetic retinopathy, available medical treatment includes injections of corticosteroids or anti-vascular-proliferative medications in the area around the eye can be used. The presence of glaucoma requires the use of anti-glaucoma medications in the form of eye drops.
Can Laser Treat My Diabetic Eye Disease?
Laser photocoagulation uses the heat from a laser to seal or destroy abnormal, leaking blood vessels in the retina. One of two approaches may be used when treating diabetic retinopathy:
- Focal photocoagulation. Focal treatment is used to seal specific leaking blood vessels in a small area of the retina, usually near the macula. The ophthalmologist identifies individual blood vessels for treatment and makes a limited number of laser burns to seal them off.
- Scatter (pan-retinal) photocoagulation. Scatter treatment is used to slow the growth of new abnormal blood vessels that have developed over a wider area of the retina. The ophthalmologist may make hundreds of laser burns on the retina to stop the blood vessels from growing. The person may need two or more treatment sessions.
Laser photocoagulation is usually not painful. You may feel a slight stinging sensation or see brief flashes of light when the laser is applied to your eye.
As we always say, If you feel you have any of these symptoms listed above, please call us or request an appointment by clicking on the button below. You should not take a chance when it comes to your health and vision. We can do a thorough eye exam in a few minutes with some of the most sophisticated advanced vision equipment available today. We’ll know right away if you have Diabetic Eye Disease or if it’s something else, perhaps it’s nothing, but it’s always best to check it out. Call us today, we care about your vision.