DIABETIC EYE EXAMS
PROTECT YOUR EYES FROM DIABETIC COMPLICATIONS
If you have diabetes, you’re likely no stranger to how it impacts your overall health. High blood sugar levels related to diabetes can damage the blood vessels in the retina. Since the retina plays a significant role in eyesight, diabetes can put your vision at risk.
In fact, eye disease due to diabetes is the leading cause of preventable blindness in North America in those between 30 and 69.
Annual eye exams are an important tool for detecting diabetic eye diseases early. With early intervention, eye diseases can be treated and future eye damage can be prevented. We use advanced, noninvasive diagnostic equipment to uncover changes in your eyes that could indicate diabetic eye diseases.
Diabetes is a serious condition which affects blood sugar levels. Without proper care and maintenance, it can wreak havoc throughout the body, impacting all sorts of important systems… including the eyes.
At Shaughnessy Optometry, we offer eye exams designed specifically to support the eye care needs of our patients with diabetes. Book your eye exam with us today.
Understanding Diabetic Eye Disease
Diabetic eye disease is an umbrella term used to describe a group of conditions that commonly affect patients with diabetes. These conditions can include Cataracts, Glaucoma, Age-Related Macular Degeneration, Diabetic Retinopathy and Diabetic Macular Edema
How Diabetics Affects the Eyes
Temporary high blood sugar levels can sometimes cause blurred vision that lasts only a few days or weeks. This blurring occurs when blood sugar levels cause swelling in the eye tissues responsible for focusing your vision. When your blood levels return to normal, this blurred vision will go away.
If your blood sugar levels stay high over a long period, it can damage the delicate blood vessels in your retina. Most serious eye diabetic diseases are caused by blood vessel problems. This damage can occur even in those with pre-diabetes.
Diabetes increases your risk of developing cataracts and glaucoma, but even more seriously, diabetes can lead to diabetic retinopathy.
WHAT IS DIABETIC RETINOPATHY?
The retina is the tissue at the back of the eye that absorbs light and decodes visual images for your brain. Diabetic retinopathy damages the fragile blood vessels that supply the retina, causing them to weaken, swell, and potentially break.
Early diabetic retinopathy can develop with no symptoms or only mild vision problems. As the disease advances, damaged blood vessels close off, prompting new, abnormal blood vessels to grow on the surface of the retina. These new blood vessels can cause scarring and lead to serious vision problems.
Diabetic retinopathy affects 23% of patients with type 1 diabetes and 14% of patients with type 2 diabetes.
When blood glucose levels are not properly controlled, the blood vessels in the retina can become damaged. This causes the blood vessels to leak blood and fluid into the eye. In some cases, the body tries to replace the damaged blood vessels by growing new ones. However, the new blood vessels are weak and abnormal and can cause scarring. Diabetic retinopathy can cause serious vision loss if it isn’t detected early and properly treated.
Diabetic macular edema occurs when the retina starts to swell, often as a result of fluid leaking inside the retina. As the retina swells, the macula (the part of the retina responsible for central vision) becomes obscured. Diabetic macular edema can cause serious vision loss if it isn’t detected early and properly treated.
Early stages of diabetic retinopathy can be managed simply by controlling your blood sugar levels and blood pressure. Your optometrist will also want to see you regularly to monitor your disease.
If diabetic retinopathy progresses, it can be controlled with anti-VEGF injections, laser treatment, or surgery. These treatments are more effective when the disease is caught early, so regular eye exams are crucial.