Posted by: Cumberland Eye Care in Eye Health on March 20, 2024

According to the National Eye Institute, diabetic retinopathy can cause vision loss and blindness in people with diabetes. If you have Diabetes, it is essential that you schedule a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year. While diabetic retinopathy may not initially exhibit any symptoms, early detection can help you take necessary steps to protect your vision.

What Are The Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy?

The early stages of diabetic retinopathy typically do not exhibit symptoms, but there are a few signs to watch for.

  • If you are experiencing difficulty reading or seeing objects that are far away, these changes may be intermittent.
  • The blood vessels in the retina start to bleed into the vitreous (gel-like fluid in the center of the eye).
  • If you start noticing dark, floating spots or streaks resembling cobwebs, please seek medical attention immediately.

Sometimes, bleeding can reoccur, worsen, or cause scarring if left untreated. Therefore, it is crucial to seek immediate treatment even if the spots clear up independently.

Are You At Risk for Diabetic Retinopathy?

It’s important to know that anyone with diabetes, whether it’s type 1, type 2, or gestational diabetes (which develops during pregnancy), can get diabetic retinopathy. The longer you have diabetes, the higher your risk of developing this condition. Shockingly, over 2 out of every 5 Americans with diabetes have some form of diabetic retinopathy. However, the good news is that controlling diabetes can reduce the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy.

Women who have diabetes and become pregnant, or those who develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy, have a higher risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. It is essential to schedule a comprehensive dilated eye exam as soon as possible if you have diabetes and are pregnant. Also, consult your doctor to determine whether you require further eye exams during pregnancy.

Causes of Diabetic Retinopathy?

Diabetic retinopathy is caused by high blood sugar levels resulting from diabetes. Over time, excessive sugar in the bloodstream can cause damage to the retina, which is responsible for detecting light and transmitting signals to the brain via the optic nerve located at the back of the eye.

How Can I Prevent Diabetic Retinopathy? 

  • To manage diabetes effectively, it is important to maintain normal blood sugar levels.
  • Regular physical activity
  • Eating Healthy
  • Lowering your A1c levels (A1c is a particular test that shows your average sugar level over three months)
  • Follow your doctor’s instructions for your insulin or other diabetes medicines.

Eye Exams Can Save Your Sight

Regular eye exams are crucial for helping people with diabetes protect their eyesight and reduce the risk of blindness by up to 95%. They are also the most critical factor in managing diabetes disease properly. 

We make a great team with our patients and love being your eye health partner.

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References: National Eye Institute, American Academy of Ophthalmology, and American Optometric Association. This blog provides information and discussion about eye health and related subjects. The content provided in this blog and any linked materials are not intended and should not be considered medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, they should consult with an appropriately licensed physician.

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