Having diabetes significantly increases your risk of developing potentially dangerous eye diseases. For example, around a third of people over the age of 40 with diabetes have diabetic retinopathy, a leading cause of vision loss and blindness. However, diabetic retinopathy isn’t the only diabetes-related eye disease that can permanently damage your vision.
Here at Retina Specialists, our team of expert ophthalmologists provides diabetic eye exams at our offices in Dallas, DeSoto, Plano, Mesquite, and Waxahachie, Texas. We screen for and treat diabetic eye diseases, including diabetic retinopathy, macular edema, and glaucoma.
1. Diabetic retinopathy
Continuously elevated blood sugar levels damage your blood vessels, including the tiny blood vessels that feed your retina. Diabetic retinopathy develops when abnormal blood vessels leak blood and other fluids onto your retina. The condition is progressive, as additional blood vessels grow to make up for the leaky vessels, only to begin to leak as well and cause more damage.
2. Macular edema
Abnormal and leaking blood vessels can also cause swelling in your macula. Your macula is the part of your retina that controls your central vision. Over time, your central vision, which you need to read, drive, and recognize people’s faces, becomes blurry and distorted.
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that elevates the pressure in your eyeball and damages your optic nerve. When diabetes damages the blood vessels in your eyes, the additional fluids and swelling overwhelm your drainage angles and cause pressure to build up inside your eye.
Signs of diabetic eye disease
In most cases, diabetic eye diseases don’t cause symptoms in their early stages, which is why it’s critical to have diabetic eye exams at least once a year. With frequent screening, we can diagnose eye diseases and provide customized treatment before your vision is damaged.
In some cases, you might notice eye disease symptoms, including:
- Blurry or wavy vision
- Vision changes from day to day
- Reduced color vision
- Floaters or flashes
- Dark or blank spots in your vision
If you notice any of these symptoms, call us immediately for an eye exam, diagnosis, and treatment.
Managing diabetic eye disease
Your first step should be to control your diabetes with diet, exercise, and medication. By lowering and managing your blood sugar levels, you can reduce your risk of developing diabetic eye diseases and protect your vision.
However, if you have a diabetic eye disease, we offer customized treatment to address your specific condition and needs. Some of the standard procedures for diabetic eye disease include anti-VEGF medication, laser treatments, and vitrectomy.
Anti-VEGF injections stop the development of abnormal blood vessels and leakage in your eyes, reducing retinopathy and macular edema. We provide the injections during your checkups.
We also offer laser treatments to get rid of the abnormal blood vessels on your retina. Laser treatment can stop your condition from getting worse, but it won’t restore vision loss.
When untreated, the scarring caused by retinopathy can cause your retina to pull away from the back of your eye. We perform vitrectomy to replace the vitreous fluid in your eye and keep your retina in place.
If you have diabetes, give us a call to schedule a diabetic eye exam today. We can diagnose and treat all types of diabetic eye diseases to protect your vision and eye health.