Three Facts To Know About Diabetic Retinopathy

senior man with glucometer checking blood sugar level at homeDiabetic retinopathy is an eye condition that results from high blood sugar. Consistent elevation of blood glucose levels affects blood vessels in the retina, causing them to leak. Initially, the fluid that escapes the weakened blood vessels distorts vision. Over time, though, diabetic retinopathy can cause blindness. Additionally, diabetic retinopathy can contribute to other serious eye conditions, including diabetic macular edema (DME), neovascular glaucoma, and retinal detachment.  If you have been diagnosed with Type I or Type II diabetes, you want to be aware of the signs of diabetic retinopathy. These include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Poor night vision
  • Halos around lights
  • Colors appear faded or washed out
  • An increasing number of “floaters”
  • Dark or empty areas of your vision
  • Loss of central vision

What You Should Know About This Condition

Early Detection Dramatically Lowers Risk

Diabetic retinopathy can lead to blindness. According to research, though, awareness and early, consistent treatment can reduce this risk by as much as 95 percent. The way to do this is to see your ophthalmologist at least once every year. If you have diabetes and you have yet been told by your primary care physician to see an ophthalmologist, do so now. The earlier that you have a doctor working on your side to preserve and protect your vision, the better. This is as relevant for women who have been diagnosed with gestation diabetes as it is for those recently diagnosed with Type II diabetes. Once you have seen your ophthalmologist the first time, they can recommend follow-up care as needed depending on your current status. If you notice new symptoms before you are due for your next eye exam, contact the office.

Know The Risk Factors

If you have diabetes, you are at risk of diabetic retinopathy. It’s simple, but there is more. If you have had diabetes for several years, your risk of eye damage is greater. If your blood sugar is not currently under control, there is a more significant chance of damage to the delicate blood vessels in the eyes. Your risk may also be higher if you smoke, are pregnant, have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or are of Native American, Hispanic, or African American descent.

Tips For Prevention

It is not possible to prevent Type 1 diabetes. At this time, it isn’t fully understood what causes this condition. Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, is influenced both by genetics and lifestyle. Regardless, people who have been diagnosed with this chronic medical condition can benefit greatly from learning how to maintain stable blood sugar levels. In addition to blood sugar maintenance through healthy eating and regular exercise like walking, routine eye exams are necessary for the earliest possible detection of diabetic retinopathy. There may not be a guaranteed way to prevent this eye problem outside of keeping blood sugar as regulated as possible. There are, however, ways to manage the risks of diabetic retinopathy with help from your ophthalmologist.

Schedule your comprehensive eye exam with a friendly, experienced ophthalmologist. Contact Roholt Vision Institute today to schedule a visit in Canfield, North Canton, or Alliance, OH.

Posted in: Diabetic Eye Care

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