What is Diabetic Retinopathy?
If you have diabetes mellitus, your body does not use and store glucose (sugar) properly, causing an unusual rise in blood glucose High blood glucose levels over time may damage delicate blood vessels in the back of your eyes producing visual problems; this is referred to as diabetic retinopathy.
Most people with diabetic retinopathy have no symptoms until the disease is very advanced. When symptoms start, they may include blurred or cloudy vision, blind spots, floaters, and eventually poor visual acuity and blindness. If you are diabetic, and you notice any vision loss (which may appear as dark spots), consult an eye care professional as soon as possible.
Prevention and Early Detection of Diabetic Retinopathy
Anyone with diabetes is at risk for diabetic retinopathy. A medical examination is the only way to discover any changes inside your eye. Early detection of diabetic retinopathy is the best protection against vision loss. However, you can significantly reduce your chances of getting diabetic retinopathy by monitoring and maintaining strict control of your blood glucose levels. Those living with diabetes should visit their ophthalmologist regularly (at least once yearly) ideally the check-up should include a dilated eye exam. Today with better diagnostic tools and treatments, fewer people have lost their vision due to diabetic retinopathy.
Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy
Although most damage caused by diabetic retinopathy cannot be reversed, proper treatment can slow its progression, prevent further vision loss, and occasionally even reverse some of the changes. Intravitreal injections of medication and laser treatments (photocoagulation) can be used to help control vision loss. These are some options that Eye Health MD provides in treating this condition. In severe cases surgery may be performed. You can help by keeping your blood glucose and blood pressure levels as close to normal as possible, and exercise regularly.