Diabetic eye disease is a term used to describe a number of eye problems that can result from diabetes. These eye diseases include diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, glaucoma, and cataracts.
Diabetic Retinopathy: This is caused by damage to the blood vessels of the retina. This condition can develop in individuals who have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, though your risk increases the longer you have diabetes.
Diabetic Macular Edema: This occurs when fluid builds up on the retina which results in swelling and blurred vision.
Glaucoma: Glaucoma is a group of diseases that cause damage to the optic nerve in the eye. Individuals with diabetes have double the chances of developing this condition.
Cataracts: Unstable and uncontrolled blood sugar due to diabetes can cause cataracts to form. Cataract surgery is often needed to remove the clouded lenses from the eyes and improve vision.
There are often no warning signs of diabetic eye disease when damage first occurs. However, if you do experience symptoms, they may include:
- Blurry vision.
- Vision loss or dark areas.
- Spots or floaters in your line of vision.
- Flashes of light.
- Frequently changing vision.
A full, dilated eye exam is needed to allow Dr. Gupta to exam your eyes fully for proper diagnosis and treatment.
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If you are diagnosed with diabetic eye disease, we may recommend that you undergo eye exams more often than once a year. We will also encourage the management of your diabetes, which includes your blood pressure, cholesterol, and A1C. If your symptoms become more severe or begin to hinder your daily activities, treatment may include medication, laser treatments, surgery, or a combination of these solutions.
Medication: Anti-VEGF medications may be prescribed, which block the growth of abnormal blood vessels in the eyes as well as stop fluid leaks. After numbing your eyes, these medications are injected into your eyes using a hair-fine needle during office visits. This treatment option may stop further vision loss or may even improve vision for some patients.
Laser Treatment: Laser treatments can be used to prevent eye disease from worsening, which can help to prevent vision loss or blindness. There are two different types of laser treatments, including focal/grid laser treatments to treat diabetic macular edema and scatter laser treatment, which is used to treat diabetic retinopathy.
Surgery: There are multiple surgeries that can be performed to treat a number of diabetic eye diseases. Vitrectomy is a surgery to remove the clear gel in the center of the eye, which is done to address problems with scar tissue or severe bleeding caused by proliferative diabetic retinopathy. Cataract lens surgery can also be performed to remove clouded lenses from the eye (cataracts) to improve your overall vision.
With time, diabetes can result in damage to your eyes that can lead to poor vision or blindness. However, if you have diabetes, there are steps that you can take to prevent diabetic eye disease or stop it from worsening. These steps include managing your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol, having a dilated eye exam yearly, and stopping smoking if you smoke.
KNOW YOUR DOCTOR
Cataract Surgeon, Opthalmologist, Cornea & External Diseases Specialist
Dr. Archana Gupta is a board certified ophthalmologist. She specializes in cataract, cornea, external diseases and refractive surgery.
If you are living with diabetes or diabetic eye disease, it is important to regularly see your eye doctor to ensure your eyes are healthy. Contact Advanced Eye Surgeons today to schedule your appointment with Dr. Gupta to get started.
If you have a question or would like to schedule an appointment, please fill out and submit the form below.
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