Also known as diabetic retinopathy, this eye disease is caused by diabetes mellitus, the condition that is affecting about 1 out of 10 Americans. According to medical researchers, nearly 1 out of 3 diabetic people have retinopathy. With this condition being so common, patients need to undergo annual eye exams to screen for this disease. At Eyecare Professionals, we provide exams and treatment options for our patients in Washburn, Hazen, and Mandan, ND.
Symptoms of Diabetic Eye Disease
This eye disease will usually manifest in the following symptoms:
- blurred vision
- strange spots or fluctuations
- impaired color
- a general loss of vision
The symptoms tend to worsen depending on the stage that the diabetic retinopathy is at. There is mild NPDR, moderate NPDR with spots and venous beading, severe NPDR with intraretinal hemorrhages, and PDR with neovascularization and hemorrhages. If you display any ongoing symptoms like this, you should seek an eye doctor for diagnostic testing.
How Diabetic Retinopathy Develops
Diabetic eye disease occurs when high blood pressure causes damage to the body's blood vessels. Diabetic people often have an irregular amount of sugar in the blood vessels, which eventually causes damage to different parts of the body. In diabetic retinopathy, blood vessels leak fluids into the retinal tissue, causing eyesight to become blurry or cloudy.
During the early stages of diabetic eye disease, the patient will have trouble with visual tasks such as reading or driving. When left untreated, this disease tends to worsen over time, potentially resulting in blindness. For that reason, it is important to slow down or treat the condition in its earlier stages.
Preventative Care and Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy
The most effective preventative measure for diabetic retinopathy is to live a healthy lifestyle that avoids diabetes. This lifestyle approach will involve eating nutritional, non-processed foods for most of your diet and consistently keeping your blood sugar levels low. This will keep variables like blood pressure and cholesterol under control.
If you are developing diabetic retinopathy, then you will need to discuss potential treatment options with a qualified eye care provider. Some people opt to undergo laser surgery while others take prescribed medications such as ranibizumab and aflibercept. There are also management options available, including corticosteroids and vitrectomy.
Contact Our Optometrists at Eyecare Professionals
At Eyecare Professionals, we treat people with diabetic eye disease. If you live in or around Mandan, Hazen, or Washburn and have concerns about diabetic retinopathy, call our team today or reach us through our website by using our online contact form.