Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in the U.S. adult population. Diabetic Retinopathy occurs in diabetic patients when the blood vessels inside your eye weaken due to diabetes. The weak vessels will then leak fluid into the inside lining of the eye. The inside lining of the eye, called the retina, can then grow new distorted vessels that can bleed. The retina can be damaged and will result in blurry and distorted vision. Other systemic problems can combine with diabetes to worsen the effects on the eye such as pregnancy, high blood pressure, and smoking.
The symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy are usually silent. There is no pain or outward sign that you could have this condition. Patients will sometimes notice a gradual blurring of vision or some minor - severe vision loss. Symptoms may come and go due to unstable blood sugar levels. In severe cases it can cause blindness.
To prevent Diabetic Retinopathy it is important to have a yearly dilated eye exam so that your eye care professional can detect any changes before your vision can be damaged. You can take important steps to prevent and control diabetic retinopathy by managing your diabetes closely, controlling high blood pressure, and stopping smoking.
We encourage our diabetic patients to watch their diets closely, get regular exercise, and to check their blood sugar levels as often as their family doctor suggests. Please feel free to call our office with any concerns or questions that you might have–our technicians are here for you.