Diabetes is known for its negative effects on blood sugar levels and insulin. But did you know that Diabetic Retinopathy is a complication for people with diabetes that can cause serious health implications such as retinal detachment, glaucoma, and blindness?
Diabetes can increase your chance of vision loss and regular screenings with your eye doctor to catch symptoms early on provides the best chance of minimizing major side effects of the disease. Here are symptoms to look for, how your optometrist will test for the disease, and possible treatment options if you are diagnosed with it.
Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy. If you have diabetes, you are at an increased risk for developing a serious eye condition called Diabetic Retinopathy. You may not notice any signs of the disease, or you may attribute them to other causes. Regular screening and comprehensive eye exams are keyto early detection and treatment. Some of the symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy are:
- The appearance of ‘floaters’
- The appearance of dark spots
- Difficulty reading or seeing items close up to your face
- Double vision
- Inability to view colours
Testing for Diabetic Retinopathy. If you have diabetes, your eye doctor will screen for Diabetic Retinopathy with an eye examination called a fluorescein angiography test. Your practitioner will use dye to track and assess the blood flow and blood vessels within the retina through the use of eye imaging technology.
How To Treat Diabetic Retinopathy. When this serious condition is caught in the early stages of the disease, vision preservation is optimized. Your eye doctor might use a number of methods to treat the disease and help to strengthen the rest of the body to aid in the fight. Treatments options they might recommend are:
- existing diabetes management
- laser technology called photocoagulation that stops blood vessels from leaking at the back of the eye
- a vitrectomy which can help remove blood from the vitreous humor
- a medication called anti-VEGF, and/or steroids injections, to keep vision loss at bay
- surgery, in advanced cases, to remove scar tissue within the eye
Most likely your doctor will assess your current lifestyle and habits to see if any are putting you at an increased risk for developing Diabetic Retinopathy, or exacerbating your current conditions. Quitting smoking, monitoring and managing blood sugars and cholesterol levels, and adopting a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals with an exercise routine will help to slow the progression of Diabetic Retinopathy. Better yet, doing these things will also help lower your risk of developing the disease in the first place.
Early Detection Is Key
It’s been said time and time again that routine eye exams are incredibly important to screen for and detect diseases early on, and Diabetic Retinopathy is no exception to this fact. Your best bet is to catch signs of eye disease early on so your Optometrist can create a treatment plan for you and monitor your disease progression to avoid partial, or total blindness.
My Optometrist Calgary is an experienced and thorough Diabetic Retinopathy screening clinic that provides a wide array of disease detection and treatment options. With three Calgary and area locations to choose from: Sunridge NE, Sundance SE, and Three Hills, you will always be able to access excellent eye care services near you. Fill out the contact form on this website, or call one of their locations for more information.
Q: What are the stages of Diabetic Retinopathy?
A: This serious eye condition presents itself in four different stages. The first three stages are referred to as mild, moderate and severe nonproliferative Diabetic Retinopathy. As the disease advances and progresses, your eye doctor will use these terms to track where exactly your symptoms lie. Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy is the fourth and final stage of the disease where you will typically be affected by the most vision complications/loss.
Q: What are the types of Diabetic Retinopathy?
A: The two types of Diabetic Retinopathy are called proliferative, and nonproliferative. Nonproliferative DB refers to the early three stages of the disease and proliferative DB refers to the fourth, and most advanced, stage of the disease.
Q: Is there a cure for Diabetic Retinopathy?
A: At this time there is no cure for this disease, but most eye doctors and health care professionals agree that taking care of yourself, and your health, are incredibly important to slowing the disease’s progression.