Diabetes is a disease that interferes with the body’s ability to use and store sugar, causing health issues throughout the entire body including the eyes. The effects of diabetes is a leading cause of blindness among adult Americans.  People with diabetes should have their eyes checked with a comprehensive dilated eye example every year to help prevent vision loss.

Diabetic Retinopathy is one of the complications of Diabetes.  It is the result of damage to the blood vessels in your eyes, causing damage to the retina. The longer a person has diabetes, the more likely it is that they will develop diabetic retinopathy. The condition typically affects both eyes and if left untreated, it can lead to blindness.

Symptoms

  • Typically no symptoms in early stages
  • Seeing spots or floaters
  • Double vision
  • Blurred vision
  • Difficulty seeing well at night
  • Difficulty reading or doing close work
  • Severe vision loss if untreated

If you experience any of these symptoms, call 866-340-EYES to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.

Causes

Diabetes – patients with diabetes are at risk for developing diabetic retinopathy but not everyone will develop it. Keeping your blood sugar levels under control, regular exercise, and undergoing an annual eye exam are recommended for all diabetic patients.

Diagnosing

Because there are no symptoms in the early stages of diabetic retinopathy, vision typically will not change until the disease worsens. As a result, regular comprehensive eye exams for people with diabetes are imperative.

Dr. Adelson will perform a complete eye exam including testing for visual acuity, evaluation of the retina, checking eye pressure, and evaluating the overall health of the eye. Fluorescein angiography with the use of fluorescein dye may be used to take photographs of the back of the eye to further assess diabetic damage.

Treatment

In early stages, regular monitoring is often the only treatment necessary. Your doctor will advise that you follow a strict diet and exercise program, possibly in addition to medications, to control blood sugar levels and help control the progression of the disease.

If diabetic retinopathy presents and progresses, Dr. Adelson will sometimes recommend the use of lasers or medication to control worsening of the disease and to maintain vision.