Diabetic Retinopathy FAQ’s by our Plano and Celina Optometrists
Of all the conditions we treat here at Lone Star Vision, diabetic retinopathy is probably one of the most frequent (and increasingly common). In a country where more than 100 million people have diabetes or pre-diabetes, it’s no surprise that more and more people are beginning to struggle with this eye disease. We invite you to read on to find out more about the frequently asked questions our Plano optometrist team hears about this condition.
What is Diabetic Retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy is one of several types of diabetic eye problems that causes a loss of vision. It can occur in the presence of the underlying condition of diabetes, which is a disease affecting the body’s ability to control blood sugar.
When a person has diabetic retinopathy, the small blood vessels behind the retinas become leaky, irritated, and damaged (incidentally, the same thing can happen to blood vessels and other connective tissues all over the body, due to the inflammatory effect that excessive sugar has on the body). This leads to progressive scarring and damage to the retinas.
What are the main signs and symptoms of diabetic retinopathy?
The main symptom of diabetic retinopathy? No symptoms! You may have had this condition for a long time before obvious clinical signs develop, which may include:
- Blurry or double vision
- Floaters (spots in your visual field)
In some cases, a person may experience pain or a sense of pressure in their eyes, as well. Unfortunately, by the time symptoms develop, the disease typically will have progressed significantly.
How can our Plano optometrist detect and/or treat diabetic retinopathy?
Because diabetic retinopathy can go on for a long time before any symptoms show up, it’s critical to regularly visit with our Plano optometrist if you have diabetes so the health and integrity of your vision and eyes can be closely monitored. Earlier detection generally makes diabetic retinopathy treatment more effective.
Our Plano optometry staff uses state-of-the-art technology to look inside your eyes and assess your retinas. If diabetic retinopathy is present, it cannot be cured but it can be managed. Vision loss can be slowed thanks to certain medications which can prevent new leaky blood vessel growth and reduce inflammation. If surgery is indicated, our team can provide pre- and post-operative care, as well.
Interestingly, many people who have diabetes aren’t even aware that they have it. This is yet example as to why regularly visiting with an eye doctor is so important to your long-term vision and overall health, since we may be the first health professionals alerting you to the presence of the underlying disease!