When you have diabetes, you not only need to be concerned with your blood sugar but also with your eye health. Diabetics are prone to several vision conditions, including diabetic retinopathy. ClearView Eyecare, serving Bellingham and Northern Washington, looks at the facts about diabetic retinopathy.
What Is Diabetic Retinopathy?
Diabetics often have high blood sugar and high blood pressure. Both conditions can cause damage to the blood vessels in the retina. High blood sugar causes blood vessels in the eye to die. Your body tries to grow new ones, but they are often weak and leak blood.
How You Can Go Blind from Diabetic Retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy can lead to blindness by causing conditions like glaucoma, bleeding in the eye, the retina being removed from the rest of the eye, and diabetic macular edema, which is also caused by damaged blood vessels in the retina.
Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy
There are no early symptoms of diabetic retinopathy, but this condition can be detected by our eye doctors during an annual eye exam. When symptoms appear, you see dark spots that won’t go away. You may start losing your vision, experience constant blurry vision, have other vision-related issues that come and go.
Risk Factors for Diabetic Retinopathy
Besides having diabetes, people most at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy are smokers, people who have high blood pressure, people with cholesterol, and pregnant women. Blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans are also more prone to diabetic retinopathy.
Treating Early Diabetic Retinopathy
By getting your blood sugar levels under control, you not only treat your diabetes but can also prevent your diabetic retinopathy from worsening. Regular A1C blood tests from your primary care doctor can help monitor your blood sugar levels.
Treating Advanced Diabetic Retinopathy
Medication may need to be injected into your eyes. There are also laser eye surgery treatments to stop blood or fluid from faulty blood vessels leaking into your eyes. You may also need more conventional surgery on your eyes.
The Importance of Regular Diabetic Eye Exams
Diabetics are not only prone to getting diabetic retinopathy but are also prone to getting cataracts and glaucoma. Our eye doctors can spot these conditions before you start experiencing any problems with your vision. By getting your eyes checked once a year, you can start working on treating your vision-related issues before you lose your sight.
Visit Us for Eye Health Care and Treatment for Vision Conditions from Our Optometrists in Bellingham, WA
If you have diabetes, you need to get your eyes checked regularly. If you live in the Bellingham or Northern Washington areas and are looking for “optometry near me,” contact ClearView Eyecare at (360) 392-8306 to make an appointment today.