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Do You Suffer from Diabetic Retinopathy?

Everybody knows that people who suffer from diabetes struggles with the amount of sugar in their blood. Whether they have too much or too little they are very conscious of just how much sugar is coursing through their veins. Many don't realize that the wrong amount of sugar in their blood can severely damage the vessels in theirs eyes. If your blood sugar levels raise to high, you can develop diabetic retinopathy. Additionally if you have been a longer time sufferer of diabetes you are more likely to be ALSO suffering from diabetic retinopathy.

The stages of development for diabetic retinopathy follow a clear path. All these stages can lead upto a traumatic event where the retina becomes detached because of the buildup of scar tissue. This scar tissue develops from the overgrowth of blood vessel of the eyeball. A retinal detachment is severe because it causes blindness. Any blood vessel growth that is not normal can spread to the iris. Abnormal growth like this, can cause glaucoma. As a result many people who suffer from diabetes are more likely to have glaucoma. Vision experts says that people with diabetes are more likely by 25% to lose their eyesight.

Here are Some Signs & Symptoms that You are Suffering From Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic Retinopathy is a condition that results from having diabetes. However, just because you suffer form diabetes does not mean you will have diabetic retinopathy. In the early stages of development, you may not ever notice any sort of change to your eyesight or vision. As time progresses. Eventually you might see small changes and nuisances. If you see a change in your eyesight you should see your eye doctor as soon as you can or your vision may be effected for the worse permanently.

For these reasons an annual vision and eye examination are essential to continued health and good eyesight. Our Northeast Philadelphia optometrist will run a thorough evaluation during your annual eye exam to identify any symptoms. Early detection of Diabetic Retinopathy can cause early treatment and stop any sort of eyesight loss.

Ever notice spots in your vision? How about grey cobwebs drifting across your sight? Those are called floaters and they can be an indication of diabetic retinopathy. There are times where fluid begins to collect in the macula of your eye. The macula is the light wave sensitive portion of the eyeball. This buildup of fluid can cause a diabetic retinopathy. Certain level of difficulty in reading and work. This build of fluid in the macula is called a macular edema, yet another cause for diabetic retinopathy. An Additional symptom you should be on the lookout for is double vision. Double vision happens when the nerves that control eye movement and are inadvertently affected. It is important to note any of these effects and symptoms and report them to your Northeast Philadelphia optometrist. Please note, that if you are suffering from diabetes you should already be visiting your optometrist for a special dilated eye examination. Make sure take talk about these symptoms and causes during your eye exam, even though you may not have any vision problems.

So how will your eye doctor confirm the diagnoses? If your optometrist thinks that you are suffering from diabetic retinopathy, then they will use a test call a fluorescein angiography. Fluorescein angiography is a procedure where the optometrist will inject a dye into your body. As your blood flows through your body, the dye will start to appear in your eye, specifically in the retina. The optometrist performing the fluorescein angiography will take a series of images as the dye passes along your retina. These images can tell an optometrist is you are in fact suffering from diabetic retinopathy. Additionally, they can tell how far along the disease has progressed and prescribe the appropriate course treatment.

What causes diabetic retinopathy?

Changes in blood-sugar levels increase your risk of diabetic retinopathy, as does long-term diabetes. Generally, diabetics don't develop diabetic retinopathy until they have had the disease for at least 10 years. As soon as you've been diagnosed with diabetes, you need to have a dilated eye exam at least once a year.

In the retina, high blood sugar can damage blood vessels that can leak fluid or bleed. This causes the retina to swell and form deposits. This is an early form of diabetic retinopathy called non-proliferative or background retinopathy.

In a later stage, called proliferative retinopathy, new blood vessels grow on the surface of the retina. These new blood vessels can lead to serious vision problems because they can break and bleed into the vitreous, the clear, jelly-like substance that fills the interior of the eye. Proliferative retinopathy is a much more serious form of the disease and can lead to blindness.

Fortunately, you can significantly reduce your risk of developing diabetic retinopathy by using common sense and taking good care of yourself:

  • Keep your blood sugar under good control.
  • Maintain a healthy diet.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Follow your doctor's instructions to the letter.

How is diabetic retinopathy treated?

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, 95% of those with diabetic retinopathy can avoid substantial vision loss if they are treated in time.

Diabetic retinopathy can be treated with a laser to seal off leaking blood vessels and inhibit the growth of new vessels. Called laser photocoagulation, this treatment is painless and takes only a few minutes.

In some patients, blood leaks into the vitreous humor and clouds vision. The eye doctor may choose to simply wait to see if the clouding will dissipate on its own, or a procedure called a vitrectomy may be performed to remove blood that has leaked into the vitreous humor.

Small studies using investigational treatments for diabetic retinopathy have demonstrated significant vision improvement for individuals who are in early stages of the disease. Two medications that are closely related, Lucentis and Avastin, may be able to stop or reverse vision loss, similar to very promising results that have been reported when the two drugs have been used as treatments for macular degeneration.