What is Diabetic Retinopathy and How is it Treated?
Diabetic retinopathy is a condition in which damage to the blood vessels in the eye causes impaired vision. In the early stages, it may cause swelling in the retina or macula, which can cause blurriness and 'floaters.' Floaters are tiny particles of tissue, sometimes blood, that float around in the liquid part of the eye and appear as dark spots in your vision.
Later stages of the condition involve the proliferation of new blood vessels on the back of the eye. These vessels may bleed into the eye. Small amounts of blood may cause multiple floaters, while larger amounts of blood may fill the fluid of the eye and cause blindness.
Treatment for diabetic retinopathy involves both systemic measures, such as bringing sugar levels under control, and eye-related procedures such as laser surgery. Drugs can be used to reduce the swelling in some cases. Lasers can be used to seal off blood vessels in the eye, which hopefully reduces both swelling and bleeding.
Signs that You Should See an Eye Care Specialist
If you have diabetes, it is important to take care of your eyes. Certain symptoms may mean that it would be best to schedule an appointment, even if it is not time for your routine exam. However, diabetic retinopathy does not always have symptoms, so it is important to make regular appointments with your eye care specialist. Common signs of the condition include:
- Blurred vision that sometimes clears
- Blurred vision that does not clear
- Dark spots in your vision
- Increasing numbers of floaters
- Changes in how you perceive colors
- Poor night vision
- Reduced overall vision
Your eye doctor's regular screening exam is the best way to detect diabetic retinopathy. Many people skip their routine exams, but for diabetics especially, this is dangerous to your vision. Come see our eye doctor today for a comprehensive vision screening.
Diabetic Retinopathy Prevention
There are several types of treatment available for diabetic retinopathy. However, if you can prevent it that is better still. Some of the risk factors for diabetic retinopathy, besides having diabetes, are:
- Uncontrolled sugar levels
- High blood pressure
- High lipid levels/cholesterol
- Having had diabetes for a long time
- Belonging to a certain ethnic group
High blood pressure and high cholesterol can both cause damage to all of the blood vessels in your body. In combination with diabetes, they can increase the amount of damage to the blood vessels in the eyes.
Having had diabetes for a long time increases your risk of developing the disorder. People with type I diabetes, who require insulin because their bodies do not produce it, have an 80 percent risk after 15 years. People with the more common type II diabetes have an 84 percent risk after 19 years. However, treatments for the condition are available, and having diabetic retinopathy does not mean you will go blind.
Let Us Treat Your Diabetic Retinopathy at Eyes First Vision Center in New Jersey
Eyes First Vision Center has ten optometry locations in the state of New Jersey. These facilities are located in:
- Red Bank
- Toms River
- Sea Girt Mall
- Matawan/Old Bridge
Schedule An Appointment At One Of Our Ten Locations
Our main line is 866-393-7347, or to contact a specific location, click here. We proudly serve Bricktown, Eatontown, Hazlet, Manahawkin, Manchester/Lakehurst, Sea Girt Mall, Matawan/Old Bridge, Middletown, Red Bank, and Toms River. Call us today to make an appointment, and start doing something about your diabetic retinopathy now.