Diabetic Eye Disease
Eye care is particularly important for people with diabetes because they are at increased risk of developing eye complications from the disease. In fact, diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in adults age 25 to 74. High blood glucose and high blood pressure from diabetes can affect the retina, vitreous, lens or optic nerve.
Diabetic Retinopathy is the most common diabetic eye disease. You may not have any signs of retina damage due to diabetes, or you may have one or more signs.
These may include:
- Blurry or double vision
- Rings, flashing lights, or blank spots
- Dark or floating spots
- Pain or pressure in one or both of your eyes
- Trouble seeing things out of the corners of your eyes
Retinal damage can happen slowly. The retina contains tiny blood vessels that are easily damaged, particularly by chronic high blood glucose and high blood pressure. First, these tiny blood vessels swell and weaken. Some blood vessels then start leaking, or become clogged and do not let enough blood through. At first, you might not have any loss of sight from these changes, but this can later result in serious vision problems.
At Alabama Eye Physicians & Surgeons, we will detect diabetic retinopathy through regular eye exams with our diabetic patients. In the earliest stages of diabetes, eye exams once or twice a year may be acceptable. A dilated eye exam will be performed to specifically look for the leaking blood vessels that can lead to more advanced levels of this eye disease. Laser and operative surgery are highly effective treatments for diabetic retinopathy.