What is Diabetic Retinopathy?
If you have diabetes, you probably know that your body can't use or store sugar properly. When your blood sugar gets too high, it can damage the blood vessels in your eyes. The damage to retinal vessels is referred to as diabetic retinopathy.
In later stages, the disease may lead to new blood vessel growth over the retina. The new blood vessels can cause scar tissue to develop, which can pull the retina away from the back of the eye. This is known as retinal detachment and can lead to blindness if untreated. In addition, abnormal blood vessels can grow on the iris, which can lead to glaucoma.
Vision loss is largely preventable
If you have diabetes, it is important to know that today, with improved methods of diagnosis and treatment, a smaller percentage of people who develop retinopathy have serious vision problems. Early detection of diabetic retinopathy is the best protection against vision loss.
You can significantly lower your risk of vision loss by maintaining strict control of your blood sugar and visiting us regularly.
When to schedule an examination
People with diabetes should schedule examinations at least once a year. More frequent medical eye examinations may be necessary after a diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy.
Pregnant women with diabetes should schedule an appointment in the first trimester, because retinopathy can progress quickly during pregnancy.
If you need to be examined for eyeglasses, it is important that your blood sugar be consistently under control for several days when you see your ophthalmologist. Eyeglasses that work well when blood sugar is out of control will not work well when blood sugar is stable.
Rapid changes in the blood sugar can cause fluctuating vision in both eyes even if retinopathy is not present.
You should have your eyes checked promptly if you have visual changes that:
When you are first diagnosed with diabetes, you should have your eyes checked: