More than 100 million Americans live with diabetes. Those that don’t seek treatment suffer from its many health complications. Diabetic retinopathy is a serious consequence of diabetes that needs to be addressed or you risk losing your sight permanently. At Accent Vision Specialists, Dwight Thibodeaux, OD, and Paul Tachau, OD, offer complete and thorough examinations and specialized tests to patients with diabetes to ensure long-lasting vision. If you’ve been recently diagnosed or have had the disease and need guidance with treating sight-related complications, call the Santa Fe, New Mexico, office to schedule an appointment today for diabetic eye care.
Diabetes is the condition in which your body can’t properly move sugar from your bloodstream into cells where it’s converted to energy. This causes your blood sugar levels to rise. Over time, elevated blood sugar causes a number of health complications.
One of these complications is diabetic retinopathy, where high blood sugar damages the blood vessels near the light-sensitive retinal tissues. Your vision grows progressively worse as blood vessels become swollen and leak or become blocked and don’t allow blood to flow as it should.
Diabetic retinopathy happens in patients with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes and the longer you leave your diabetes untreated, the higher your chances are of developing diabetic retinopathy.
Diabetic retinopathy has no symptoms in its early stages, and you might not know you have it. As the disease progresses, you’ll start to notice symptoms like:
Your provider performs a thorough dilated eye exam. They use eye drops to widen the pupils in order to see the back of your eyes. This lets your doctor examine your retina to look for:
If there are signs of diabetic retinopathy, your doctor may suggest pictures of the inside of your or specialized scans that or detect subtle changes of fluid in the retina.
This exam is also used to monitor the progress of prescribed treatments.
Your doctor also checks your vision, measure your eye pressure (a test for glaucoma), and look for signs of cataracts.
After examining your eyes, your provider suggests treatments based on what stage the disease is in. Early stages of diabetic retinopathy usually only require that you make changes in your diet and exercise, control your blood sugar levels, and continue to closely monitor the progression of your disease.
If your condition is more advanced, our doctors may refer you to a retinal specialist for laser therapy or injections to shrink leaky blood vessels.
If you’re in need of diabetic eye care, call Accent Vision Specialists today to make an appointment.