Diabetic Eye Diseases
Diabetic retinopathy and many other diabetic eye diseases develop very slowly. Type 2 diabetics may experience 10, 20, or sometimes even 30 years of completely normal vision while the blood vessels in their retina are growing weaker every day. Diabetic retinopathy can cause complete vision loss, which is irreversible. At Eye-Site of Boynton Beach in Boynton Beach, FL, our optometrists can test for diabetic retinopathy and detect it early to avoid severe eye problems. There are several important things you should know about diabetic retinopathy if you are at risk for the disease.
How Diabetic Eye Diseases Affect Your Eyes
Diabetic retinopathy and other diseases, like diabetic macular edema, cataracts, and glaucoma, can cause many health problems. These conditions occur in response to high blood sugar. If your blood sugar remains too high, it causes the blood vessels in your eyes to swell and sometimes close off. Your eye will try to grow new blood vessels, but they don’t develop correctly, and can cause severe vision problems.
Diabetic Eye Diseases Are Common
Many people are prone to diabetic eye diseases. Those with high blood pressure and high blood sugar are at risk. Pregnant women with gestational diabetes can develop eye diseases before giving birth. Those with diabetes may have undiagnosed eye diseases. These diseases develop slowly and can be hard to detect, but can become serious very quickly. Diabetic retinopathy is the cause of over 80% of all cases of new blindness among Americans aged 20 to 74.
Symptoms Appear Late
Many people with diabetes have normal vision until one day their vision begins to change. You may have blurry or wavy vision, have trouble seeing colors, or begin to see floaters, or spots, in your vision. Some patients even develop dark spots in their vision or start to lose their vision. If your vision is changing frequently or you are experiencing other symptoms, it is important to visit our optometrists right away.
Get Treatment Right Away
Non-proliferative retinopathy is the early stage of the disease, when symptoms are rarely present. At this stage, the disease can be stopped or at least slowed down by careful control of your diabetes. By the time you have proliferative diabetic retinopathy, when the disease is fully developed, you may need medications, injections, laser surgery, or other procedures. In extreme cases, you may need to have the vitreous humor, the gel inside your eyes, removed and replaced with a synthetic oil.
The earlier your diabetic eye disease is detected, the easier and safer it is to treat. By getting routine eye exams, you can make sure any symptoms are caught early. If our optometrists notice something while examining your eyes, we can perform further tests and treatment if necessary.
Get Your Annual Eye Exam
Everyone needs an annual eye exam, but this is especially important for those with diabetes. At Eye-Site of Boynton Beach, our optometrists can perform diabetic eye exams to look specifically for diabetes-related eye diseases. We have several treatment methods that can slow or eliminate diabetic eye diseases. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, call us today.