Diabetic Retinopathy

With Thanksgiving and Christmas approaching we tend to take advantage of all the sweet treats, but we don’t take into account what it could be doing to our vision if we already have an underlying condition, Diabetes.

If you have diabetes (type 1 or type 2), you could get diabetic retinopathy, a condition that affects your eyes. Your chances of getting it depend on several things:

  • The type of diabetes you have
  • How long you’ve had it
  • How often your blood glucose changes
  • How well controlled your sugars are

Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is a leading cause of vision-loss globally. Of an estimated 285 million people with diabetes mellitus worldwide, approximately one third have signs of DR and of these, a further one third of DR is vision-threatening DR, including diabetic macular edema (DME).

You might not have any symptoms until your condition becomes severe. When you do start having symptoms, you might notice:

  • A loss of central vision when you read or drive
  • Inability to see colors
  • Blurry vision
  • Holes or black spots in vision

See your doctor right away if you have any of these issues.

When left untreated, diabetic retinopathy damages your retina. This is the lining at the back of your eye that transforms light into images.

If your blood glucose level (blood sugar) is too high for too long, it blocks off the small blood vessels that keep the retina healthy. Your eye will try to grow new blood vessels, but they won’t develop well. They start to weaken and leak blood and fluid into your retina. This can cause another condition doctors call macular edema, which makes your vision blurry.

As your condition gets worse, more blood vessels become blocked. Scar tissue builds up because of all the new blood vessels your eye has grown. This extra pressure can cause your retina to detach. It can also lead to glaucoma and other problems that may result in blindness.

As a diabetic you should work with your doctor to keep your blood sugar and blood pressure at good levels. This will help to slow down diabetic retinopathy, and may even prevent it.

Make sure you see an eye doctor at least once a year for a complete eye exam. If you have diabetes and are pregnant, you should also have a thorough eye exam during the first trimester, and follow up with an eye doctor during pregnancy. (Tell the eye doctor if you have gestational diabetes.)

Here at Cameron Optical we believe and are passionate about complete eye care. We are equipped with the top of the line Ocular Coherence Topography that we use to get a complete digital biopsy of our patient’s eyes. This allows us to diagnose and digitally track any medical issues we find. If you are a diabetic and have not yet had your yearly Diabetic eye exam, please contact us today so we can get you in before the hustle and excitement of the holidays.