One of the major complications of diabetes is an eye condition called diabetic retinopathy. This condition is caused by high blood sugar levels which causes the blood vessels behind the retina to leak fluid behind the sensitive nervous tissue, resulting in blurred vision or vision loss. Patients with either type of diabetes have the potential to develop diabetic retinopathy, and the more blood sugar is uncontrolled, the more likely the condition will develop. Also, the longer a person has diabetes, the more likely they are to develop the disease. It is estimated that nearly 80% of patients who have had diabetes for at least 10 years have some degree of diabetic retinopathy.
Initially, diabetic retinopathy may not show any symptoms. However, as the condition progresses, the common symptoms include:
- Light flashes
- Blurred vision
- Color vision impairment
The best way to prevent vision loss from diabetic retinopathy is careful and proactive management of diabetes. If you have diabetes, it is crucial to see your eye doctor every year for a dilated eye exam, even if you are not experiencing any vision problems. It is also important to manage your diabetes through medicine, diet, and exercise, as well as test your blood sugar levels regularly.
California Retina Consultants offer various treatments for patients dealing with diabetic retinopathy. Focal photocoagulation is a procedure that addresses proliferative diabetic retinopathy by destroying abnormal or leaking blood vessels, while scatter photocoagulation targets a wider range of abnormal growth. Additionally, a vitrectomy is a procedure that can help remove blood or clouded fluid from vitreous that is preventing the light to properly focus onto the retina.