November is dedicated as the American Diabetes Month and even more specifically, brings awareness to how diabetes affects the eyes. Diabetic Retinopathy is a condition that can develop in patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. The longer a patient has diabetes, the higher their risk of developing this condition.
Diabetic Retinopathy is often the first sign a person may be inflicted with diabetes. It is diagnosed during a dilated eye exam or an image taken by an Optomap machine (available at VisionFirst), where doctors view the blood vessels in the retina. If Diabetic Retinopathy goes untreated long enough, it can result in blindness.
Who is at risk?
- Anyone who has type 1 or type 2 diabetes
- Patients who do not take care of their diabetes with exercise, proper nutrition and medication
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Use of tobacco products
What are the symptoms?
- Blurry vision
- Fluctuating vision
- Impaired color vision
- Dark areas in your vision
How is Diabetic Retinopathy treated?
The most important step is to have an annual eye exam so any changes to blood vessels in the retina can be detected. In the early stages, ocular treatment may not be necessary with control of diet and exercise. With regular monitoring by a VisionFirst doctors, further treatments of medicine and surgical procedures can be implemented if the disease becomes more serious. Early detection is the best medicine.