Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness
- Posted on: Nov 15 2018
November is Diabetic Eye Disease Month, a time during which we can turn collective attention toward an important topic of discussion. Every person who has diabetes, either Type I or Type II, is at risk for diabetic eye disease. This may also be referred to as diabetic retinopathy. Furthermore, this risk increases over time after a diabetes diagnosis. Because diabetic eye disease can lead to vision loss, it is critical that those with this chronic condition know how to protect their long-term health and wellness.
How does diabetic retinopathy cause vision loss?
There are a few ways in which diabetic retinopathy can degrade vision:
- Macular edema. The macula is the central portion of the retina. The pressure within the eye can cause the blood vessels the macula to become leaky. The fluid and blood that accumulates around the macula then cause blurry vision and swelling in this part of the eye. Macular edema is said to be one of the biggest reasons that diabetic patients experience vision changes.
- When the retina is damaged by diabetic retinopathy, new blood vessels may begin to grow around this part of the eye. These new blood vessels are not strong, though, and usually break. This sends fluid and blood around the retina and into the vitreous cavity that sits just in front of it. This condition is referred to as a vitreous hemorrhage. Floaters in the field of vision are the most common symptom of this complication of diabetic retinopathy.
Protecting Your Vision
Diabetic eye disease is not a condition that makes itself known right away. It is possible that symptoms may not appear until irreparable damage has occurred within the eye. For this reason, the way to preserve vision is clear: manage your health. Here’s how you can do that.
Get Annual Dilated Eye Exams
Every diabetic patient is highly encouraged to schedule a dilated eye exam every year. Both macular edema and diabetic retinopathy can develop and progress without any symptoms at all. The eye exam that observes all structures at the back of the eye, including the vitreous cavity, the retina, the optic nerve, and blood vessels, is the only way to identify changes that would ultimately affect vision.
Blood Sugar Management
Clinical studies have confirmed the correlation between unmanaged blood sugar and the onset of retinopathy. This means that we now also know that keeping blood sugar under control can slow the onset and progression of diabetic eye disease. Furthermore, research suggests that a combination of controlled blood sugar and cholesterol holds significant power to preserve vision. Diabetic patients are advised to work closely with their primary health care provider to develop healthy lifestyle strategies tailored to their needs.
Our experienced team can help you manage diabetic eye disease. Call our Canfield, Alliance, or North Canton office to schedule your visit.
Posted in: Diabetic Retinopathy