What is the most common eye complaint in diabetic patients?

Fluctuation in vision. The excess sugar in diabetics can cause this condition. A good control of blood sugar is recommended to minimize this problem.

What is the most common diabetic eye disease?

SP_143Diabetic retinopathy: This disease is a leading cause of blindness in American adults. It is caused by changes in the blood vessels of the retina. In some people with diabetic retinopathy, retinal blood vessels may swell and leak fluid. In other people, abnormal new blood vessels grow on the surface of the retina. These changes may result in vision loss or blindness.

Who is most likely to get diabetic retinopathy?

Anyone with diabetes. The longer someone has diabetes, the more likely he or she is to get diabetic retinopathy. Nearly half of all people with diabetes will develop some degree of diabetic retinopathy during their lifetime.

How common are the other diabetic eye diseases?

SP_143If you have diabetes, you are also at risk for other diabetic eye diseases. Studies show that you are twice as likely to get a cataract as a person who does not have the disease. Also, cataracts develop at an earlier age in people with diabetes. Cataracts can usually be treated by surgery. Glaucoma may also become a problem. A person with diabetes is nearly twice as likely to get glaucoma as other adults. And, as with diabetic retinopathy, the longer you have had diabetes, the greater your risk of getting glaucoma. Glaucoma may be treated with medications, laser, or other forms of surgery.

How can diabetes affect my vision?

If you have diabetes mellitus, your body does not use and store sugar properly. High blood-sugar levels can damage blood vessels in the retina, the nerve layer at the back of the eye that senses light and helps to send images to the brain. The damage to retinal vessels is referred to as diabetic retinopathy.

What is the treatment for diabetic retinopathy?

Most sight-threatening diabetic problems can be prevented by laser treatment if it is given early enough. It is important to realize however, that laser treatment aims to save the sight you have, not to make it better. The laser, a beam of high intensity light, can be focused with extreme precision. So the blood vessels that are leaking fluid into the retina can be sealed.

Can diabetes cause cataract?

Yes. Uncontrolled blood sugar can result in cataract formation.

Can diabetes cause bleeding inside the eye?

Yes. This is the most important sign of diabetic retinopathy. In early stages, the bleeding is very minimal, in the form of small aneurysms. These areas may leak. In later stages, the retina loses its blood supply and new blood vessels grow. These new blood vessels are very weak and cause bleeding inside the eye.

What is the treatment for bleeding inside the eye during diabetes?

SP_143In early stages, an angiogram is done to detect the sites of bleeding and proper and timely laser treatment to clog these sites can prevent further loss of your vision. In later stages, surgery is done to remove the blood.

Can diabetes cause retinal detachment?

Yes. Bleeding and then scarring inside the eye results in retinal detachment due to traction.

Can diabetes cause glaucoma?

Yes. If new vessels start growing in the angle (drainage area for the eye fluid), a type of glaucoma called “neovascular glaucoma” develops. This is very difficult to manage.

Can diabetes result in blindness?

Yes. End result of uncontrolled diabetic retinopathy is permanent blindness.

What can be done to prevent diabetes related blindness?

A routine follow-up with your ophthalmologist and early and proper treatment is recommended to prevent this blindness. Depending on your initial examination, you may need examination every 3 months to once a year. Along with an eye examination, a good control of your blood sugar is very important.

Why are regular eye examinations so important?

Most sight loss from diabetic retinopathy can be prevented but it is vital that it is diagnosed early. You may not realize that there is anything wrong with your eyesight, so regular eye checks are extremely important.

When does a diabetic patient need to schedule an eye exam?

SP_143People with diabetes should schedule eye exams at least once a year. More frequent medical eye exams may be necessary after the diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy. You should have your eyes checked promptly if you have visual changes that affect only one eye; last more than a few days; and not associated with a change in your blood sugar.

I am diabetic and I am pregnant, what should I do?

Pregnant women with diabetes should get an eye exam in the first trimester because retinopathy can progress quickly during pregnancy.

I need to be examined for glasses, do I need to have a stable blood sugar level?

If you need to be examined for glasses, it is important that your blood sugar be in consistent control for several days when you see your ophthalmologist. Glasses that work well when the blood sugar is out of control will not work well when sugar is stable. Rapid changes in blood sugar can cause fluctuating vision in both eyes even if retinopathy is not present.

What can I do to protect my vision?

Finding and treating the disease early, before it causes vision loss or blindness, is the best way to control diabetic eye disease. Therefore, if you have diabetes, make sure you get a dilated eye examination at least once a year.

I want to get my eyes checked for diabetic retinopathy, what is the next step?

Schedule an appointment at NeoVision Eye Center by calling today at 1-510-431-5511.

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