If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, you may develop some changes to your eye or vision health. Sadly, many diabetic patients can lose a part or all of their sight because of this long-lasting disease. Are you wondering how diabetic eye diseases are diagnosed and managed? Read on to find out what eye conditions you may be at risk of if you have diabetes:
Diabetic Retinopathy. This eye disease is characterized by blood vessel damage in the retina due to diabetes. Common symptoms include blurred vision, the presence of eye floaters, and difficulty seeing colors, to name a few. An ophthalmologist can diagnose diabetic retinopathy through a series of tests. These include a dilated eye exam, fluorescein angiography, and optical coherence therapy. Your eye doctor can create a treatment plan depending on how severe your disease is and how well it responded to prior treatments. In its early stages, your eye doctor may monitor your eye health through watchful waiting. Controlling blood sugar levels may also be necessary to slow its progression. Some of the most common treatments for diabetic retinopathy are laser surgery, eye injections, and eye surgery.
Diabetic Macular Edema (DME). This is the most common complication of diabetic retinopathy. DME occurs when the normal blood vessels of the retina leak into it. If the macula is involved, the swelling can result in blurry or decreased vision. Like any eye disease, the best way to detect DME is to undergo a comprehensive eye examination. Pupil dilation is necessary to give your eye doctor a direct view of your entire retina and the rest of the structures associated with it. They may also perform ancillary tests like optical coherence tomography as well as fluorescein angiography to confirm characteristic signs of swelling. The gold standard for treating DME is laser photocoagulation. Other treatments are the use of steroid injections and anti-vascular endothelial growth factor medications. Both options can chemically stop the leakage.
Glaucoma. Another way diabetic retinopathy can harm your visual health is glaucoma. Some experts believe that when your retinal blood vessels become damaged, it can result in abnormal blood vessels to start growing in your eye. This condition is referred to as neurovascular glaucoma. The abnormal growths can block the natural drainage system of your eye, causing eye pressure buildup. Glaucoma generally has no noticeable symptoms in its early stages. That’s why you must get comprehensive eye exams regularly. Diabetic patients should get their pupils dilated every year. A dilated eye exam will allow your eye doctor to detect optic nerve damage and other issues. The first treatment for glaucoma is prescription eye drops. If they don’t reduce eye pressure buildup, your doctor may recommend medication or surgery.
Cataracts. This is another diabetes complication that you should watch out for. The primary signs of cataracts are blurred vision, cloudy vision, and spots in your sight, among others. Treatment for this eye disease has advanced significantly over the past years. Eye doctors often prescribe surgery, which involves removing the lens and replacing it with an artificial one.
Diabetes can gradually cause damage to the eyes, which can result in visual impairment or blindness. Do you want to take steps to prevent diabetic eye diseases from developing in the first place? Contact the Eyecare Center of Snohomish today to schedule your eye exam. Call our office at (360) 568-6666 in Snohomish, Washington, for more information.