Over 30.3 million people in the U.S., or 9.4% of the overall population, have diabetes, a chronic disease caused by a deficiency in the production of insulin in the pancreas. Diabetes is also the leading cause of vision loss in America for people under the age of 74.
One of the many complications of diabetes is diabetic retinopathy. In today’s post, your eye care associates at Innovative Eyecare LLC discuss how this eye disorder can affect your vision.
What Causes Diabetic Retinopathy?
Diabetes interferes with the production and use of sugar (glucose), causing damage throughout the body, including the eyes. The disease can harm blood vessels in the retina, which results in leaks and swelling of the retina.
There are two types of diabetic retinopathy: non-proliferative and proliferative. Non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy weakens and causes leaks in the retinal blood vessels, which often leads to the swelling of the macula. Proliferative diabetic retinopathy is the more advanced form of the disease, occurring when the retina is deprived of oxygen. The eye adapts to this circulation problem by developing new yet fragile blood vessels, which eventually either break or leak.
What Are the Symptoms?
People with diabetic retinopathy may not experience any symptoms in the early stages of the disease. As the condition progresses, they may observe spots or floaters in their vision and find it difficult to see at night. Having a dark or empty spot in the center of the visual field is also common.
To detect this eye disease, our eye doctor recommends a comprehensive dilated eye exam every year. Early detection and treatment can help halt the progression of the disease, preserving your eyesight.
How Is Diabetic Retinopathy Treated?
Treatment methods for diabetic retinopathy vary depending on the extent of the eye damage. Some eye specialists will recommend laser surgery to seal leaky blood vessels. They may also inject medication to minimize retinal inflammation. In advanced cases, surgery involving the removal of the vitreous may be necessary.
Turn to Innovative Eyecare LLC for your vision care needs. Our optometrist and eye doctor will help detect eye problems and provide treatment. Call us today at (256) 270-0899 or fill out our online form to schedule an appointment. We serve residents of Athens and Madison, AL.