Diabetes can cause complications in many systems of your body, including the eyes. When high blood sugar levels cause damage to the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye, you have a condition known as diabetic retinopathy. The expert team of eye doctors at West Broward Eyecare Associates in Tamarac, Florida, offer treatment for this condition that can cause serious complications if not well-managed. Call the office or book online to have your eyes examined if you have diabetes.
Diabetic Retinopathy Q & A
Diabetes is diagnosed when your body can’t produce insulin or doesn’t use the insulin you do produce effectively enough to control your blood sugar levels. Diabetes includes Type 1, Type 2, and gestational versions
Unmanaged diabetes can cause you to have too much sugar (or glucose) in your blood for a long period of time. This damages organs, including the heart, kidneys, and blood vessels — including those at the back of the eye in the retina. Poorly controlled blood sugar levels that fluctuate wildly can morph the shape of the lens of your eye, resulting in blurry vision.
What is diabetic retinopathy?
At the back of your eye sits the light-sensitive retina. If diabetes causes damage to these blood vessels, they can leak, close off, or swell. You may also grow new, abnormal blood vessels on the surface of the retina. All of these developments are diagnosed as diabetic retinopathy.
Who is at greatest risk of diabetic retinopathy?
All people with diabetes are at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. This is especially true if you have poor blood sugar control.
Your risk of diabetic retinopathy increases if your diabetes is accompanied by:
- High blood pressure
- High blood lipids
People of African American, Hispanic, or Native American descent are also at greater risk.
What is nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy?
The earliest stage of diabetic retinopathy is known as nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy. With this condition, damaged blood vessels in the retina begin to leak small amounts of blood and other fluid into the eye.
Patients may also have deposits of cholesterol or other fats from the blood leak into the retina.
What is proliferative diabetic retinopathy?
When many of the blood vessels in the retina close, you’re diagnosed with proliferative diabetic retinopathy. The condition causes your retina to go into a process called neovascularization, which means it grows new blood vessels.
Abnormalities in these new blood vessels prevent the retina from receiving proper blood flow, while scar tissue that often accompanies the new vessels may cause the retina to wrinkle or detach.
How is diabetic retinopathy treated?
Managing your blood sugars to prevent the development of diabetic retinopathy is the best treatment. If you do develop the condition, it cannot be cured; however, the doctors at West Broward Eyecare Associates can slow the progression of vision loss.
If you have diabetes, regular eye checks are important. Call West Broward Eyecare Associates or schedule online to get your eyes examined.