Diabetic Eye Disease
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is due to the inability of the body to control blood sugar levels. The longer one has Diabetes, thus a longer period of uncontrolled blood sugar leading to increased risk of complications damaging the vessels supplying the vital organs such as kidneys and eyes, neuropathy, heart disease, and stroke.
Patients with Diabetes are at a higher risk of developing eye conditions as a complication of their disease. These conditions can lead to vision loss and blindness and include diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and glaucoma. Diabetic retinopathy is one of the most common serious complications and a leading cause of blindness worldwide.
Diabetic eye conditions often develop without any noticeable loss of vision or pain, so significant damage may have occurred by the time the patients notice any symptoms, thus important for Diabetic patients to have regular eye exams. Early detection of eye disease can help prevent permanent damage.
Diabetic eye problems develop from high blood sugar which causes damage to blood vessels in the eye.
What causes diabetic eye conditions?
Diabetic eye conditions affect different parts of the eye but is most common with most serious complications in the retina as a result of microvascular abnormalities. The tiny blood vessels within the retina develop microaneurysms that, over time, leak blood. As new blood vessels develop to replace the blood vessels that are no longer viable, they also leak blood causing hemorrhages, retinal detachment and permanent damage to the retina. Diabetic retinopathy has multiple stages.
How are diabetic eye conditions diagnosed?
Diabetic eye conditions often develop without any noticeable loss of vision or pain, so significant damage may have occurred by the time patients notice any symptoms. For this reason, it is important for diabetic patients to have their eyes examined at least once a year or more frequently depending on how well diabetes is controlled. Early detection of eye disease can help prevent permanent damage.
How are diabetic eye conditions treated?
Treatment options depend on the severity of your diabetic eye disease. Regular follow-ups are imperative in reducing the chances of losing vision. While you may not need treatment right away, as diabetic eye disease progresses, proliferative retinopathy may require treatments preventing vision loss from macular edema. These treatment options may include medicine injection into the eye and/or using laser treatments. In cases of retinal detachment, surgery may be needed. Early detection is key in identifying potential complications and assessing the risk of progression.