Diabetic retinopathyis one of the leading causes of vision loss and blindness in the world. The condition develops in the retina, which is the thin layer of tissue at the back of your eye, located close to the optic nerve. The retina converts light into neural signals for the brain, which turns it into recognizable images. The disease usually affects both eyes and people with diabetes.
Diabetic retinopathy: causes
Too much sugar in your blood can cause blockage in the tiny blood vessels that supply blood to the retina. With the blood supply cut off, your eye will try to fix the situation by growing new defective vessels. These are not as strong as the original ones and can easily leak or rupture – thereby damaging your vision.
What are the symptoms of diabetic retinopathy?
The early stages of diabetic retinopathycan be symptomless, and you may not notice a change in your vision. Early symptoms can include difficulty in reading or seeing faraway objects. As the disease progresses, other symptoms will appear, such as:
- Spots or dark strings floating in your vision (also called floaters)
- Blurry or hazy vision
- Fluctuating vision
- Impaired colour vision
- Dark or empty areas in your vision
- Vision loss
It’s important to see an eye doctor right away if your vision changes, and you start to experience these symptoms.
What are the risk factors associated with diabetes?
People with diabetes are in a particular risk group for developing diabetic retinopathy. The longer you have the disease, the higher the risk. The following conditions can increase the risks of developing the disease:
- High blood sugar level
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Tobacco use
- Being African-American, Hispanic or Native American
The Role of Retinal Imaging in Diabetic Eye Disease Management
One of the most successful ways to track your diabetic eye disease is through Retinal Imaging. By taking an image each time, you attend for an eye exam your doctor can efficiently and accurately determine if your condition has worsened, stayed the same or even improved. Our doctors strongly believe in using the latest technologies available to them to help preserve your vision and avoid vision loss.
Diabetic retinopathy treatment
The best way to treat diabetic retinopathy is through regular eye examinations and early diagnosis. If you have diabetes, you should see your eye doctor at least once a year for an eye exam. Your eye doctor will make a diabetic retinopathy treatment plan to prevent the retinopathy from developing further and preserve your sight for as long as possible.
Treatments usually include a healthy diet and exercise to keep your blood sugar low, as well as medical treatment to manage your diabetes. Treatments can also include injections to ‘dry’ up areas of bleeding and leakage, laser treatment to shrink blood vessels and reduce swelling in your retina, and eye surgery if you have scars in your eye and your retina is bleeding.
Book your next eye exam
Through regular eye examination, we can significantly improve your chances of seeing clearly for years to come. We have invested heavily in technology to ensure we can detect diabetic retinopathy before it starts to threaten your vision.
Both of our offices in Mississauga and Brampton are fully equipped to diagnose the condition, and we have over 20-years of experience treating diabetic retinopathy. Book an appointment for a diabetic eye exam today!