Unfortunately, diabetes is a common disease that can trigger a number of debilitating responses throughout our system, including the eyes. Uncontrolled blood sugar levels can damage the blood vessels in the eyes and cause vision loss or blindness.
Diabetic retinopathy is an all-encompassing term which refers to the effect of Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes on the eyes. To properly diagnose this serious disease, we use common procedures to detect blood flow to the retina. We then use high-resolution photographs of the retina to understand what kind of diabetic retinopathy is occurring.
Types of Diabetic Retinopathy
Early Diabetic Retinopathy (Nonproliferative)
This type of diabetic retinopathy can occur after several years of being diabetic. The disease causes the retina to develop spots from minor blood leaks and dilated vessels. This can cause swelling if it escapes into the main portion of the retina. If it remains untreated, further damage is likely and will lead to vision loss. The onset of this can occur with or without symptoms. Some symptoms include floaters, double vision or blurring.
Advanced Diabetic Retinopathy (Proliferative)
This type of diabetic retinopathy is a rare form of retinopathy and causes a significant loss of vision. Once it has progressed, it causes a network of blood vessels to grow over the retina. Retinal detachment can occur, causing a sudden loss of vision. Vessels in the eye tend to bleed easily, damaging eye tissue.
Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment
Treatment options can include different forms of laser surgery to surgical blood removal and repair of the retina.
Prevention of Diabetic Eye Disease
The better you control your blood sugar levels, the lower your risk. Boling Vision Center encourages you to take prevention seriously by carefully controlling your blood sugar level and scheduling yearly eye exams at our Elkhart, Goshen or South Bend locations. It is estimated that 40-45% of all Americans with diabetes are affected by diabetic retinopathy; 24,000 of them go blind each year. If diagnosed in time, nearly 90% of people with late-stage diabetic retinopathy can be saved from blindness.