Among adult patients, diabetes ranks as the number one cause of new vision loss. Our eye doctors at New Century Ophthalmology note that some of the patients with diabetic retinopathy do not realize that changes have already occurred in their vision. Regular eye exams by our ophthalmologist are particularly important for patients with this disorder.
Overview of Diabetic Retinopathy
Both type 1 and type 2 diabetics experience diabetic retinopathy, which steals vision by destroying the retina of the eye when the blood sugar levels remain uncontrolled. Elevated blood sugar levels can prompt small blood vessels in the lining of the retina to begin leaking proteins, blood, and other fluids.
Diabetics with proliferative, or advanced retinopathy, experience the formation of new defective blood vessels in the retina. With non-proliferative retinopathy, the eye does not produce any new vessels during the early stages of the disorder.
Unfortunately, symptoms of this condition seldom appear until an eye has incurred major damage. As retinopathy advances, these symptoms are the most common:
- Blurred vision
- Sudden vision loss
- Trouble seeing at night
- Difficulty distinguishing colors
- Seeing floaters or spots
- Black spots or holes in the field of vision
Potential complications include glaucoma, vitreous hemorrhage, detached retina, and blindness.
Diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy occurs following a comprehensive vision exam by our ophthalmologist. After dilating the patient’s eyes, our eye doctor checks them for the presence of any abnormal blood vessels, scarring, swelling, lens changes, other blood vessel problems, and damage to the nerve tissue.
Eye care for a patient that is diagnosed with retinopathy depends on the severity of the disorder. One of the most effective treatment options is photocoagulation. In this procedure, the physician uses a laser to seal the blood vessels.
Several patient self-care steps can be helpful. Retarding the progression of this condition is possible by closely following the instructions for regulating a diabetic’s blood sugar levels. Patients can lower the risk of developing retinopathy by:
- Quitting smoking if they are a smoker
- Visiting our practice regularly for exams and eye care
- Getting sufficient regular exercise
Schedule an Exam with Our Ophthalmologist in Raleigh or Oxford, NC
Each member of our team at New Century Ophthalmology is dedicated to providing our patients with personalized care, whether the need is the treatment of an eye disease such as diabetic retinopathy or a change in prescription eyewear. We specialize in diseases and surgery of the retina and vitreous. Schedule an exam with our ophthalmologist by calling our Raleigh office at (919) 861-4494 or our Oxford office at (919) 693-6661 today.