Diabetic Eye Care and Diabetic Retinopathy
When suffering from medical issues, all areas and organs of your body are impacted. While some parts incur more damage than others, it is equally important to not just focus on the immediate impact but also on other areas that can suffer. A person having diabetes has to make certain lifestyle changes in order to stop their health from deteriorating, but one thing you might not be aware of is that a diabetic person also needs to take on certain eye care practices. An eye condition, such as diabetic retinopathy can cause vision loss and even blindness in diabetic people.
The eye condition works by affecting the blood vessels in the back of your eye. If you are someone or know someone who has diabetes, it is imperative that you undergo a comprehensive dilated eye exam every six months. Eyecare is an essential part of the daily routine, and with diabetes, the chances of developing diabetic retinopathy are drastic and might not even show any symptoms at first. As a general practice, manage your diabetes by eating healthy, taking regular medication, and physically active. Here is all you need to know about the eye condition diabetic retinopathy, and what you need to be aware of for optimal eye health.
What are the symptoms of diabetic retinopathy?
For this eye condition, frequent eye exams and visits to your doctor are a key step towards the solution. As diabetic retinopathy does not have any immediate symptoms, some people might not even notice the change in their vision until they are unable to read or see distant objects. However, in the later on stages, the blood vessels in the retina can bleed, and you might see floating dark spots in your vision. You must consult an eye specialist right away before the eye condition worsens. Here are some other common symptoms that one can develop:
- Blurred vision
- Fluctuating vision
- Vision loss
Seek professional help if you exhibit one or more of the symptoms. You should get your eyesight checked regularly as well as an eye exam every few months if you have diabetes. Knowing how diabetes can affect your eye health is the first step towards taking precautions.
How Diabetes Can Affect Your Eyes?
The retina, a light-sensitive layer of cells in the eye needs a constant supply of blood to convert light into electric signals. These electric signals from the eye are converted into images, a standard process that can be disrupted when there is any intrusion in the blood flow. In a diabetic patient, the blood vessels network gets damaged over time because of the high blood sugar levels and can damage the vessels in three major stages:
Diabetic background retinopathy
It is the early stage of retinal damage in which bulges develop in the blood vessels that may slightly affect one's vision. If you have been diagnosed with this eye condition, your eye specialist would monitor your eye condition to prevent it from worsening.
Diabetic pre-proliferative retinopathy
When the eye condition worsens, it becomes more severe and widespread, causing changes in the retina which usually includes bleeding. In this stage, there is a high risk of the vision being affected as blood accumulates within the eye. There is a frequent screening process every few months to monitor the eye condition.
Diabetic proliferative retinopathy
In this stage, there are new blood vessels and scar tissues developed on the retina, which can lead to further bleeding. This eye condition is to be taken very seriously, and you should consult an eye specialist almost immediately before overlooking the problem.
When to see an eye doctor?
As a diabetes patient, or as someone who knows one, you should keep in mind that prevention is key to any eye condition. Start by checking whether you have seen any changes in eyesight, or would need any new eyewear to adjust to the changes in vision. You can schedule regular appointments with your ophthalmologist and take your medication regularly. While some vision changes are natural with age, and medical condition, factoring them in into your daily routine can make all the difference.
Keep your Eye specialist Updated
Regular appointments and consultations can prevent you from developing other problems that diabetic retinopathy can cause. Eye Conditions like Diabetic macular edema (DME) can occur. Which is an eye condition where blood vessels leak fluid into the retina causes swelling in the macula, which results in the vision becoming blurry.
Opt for Eye Tests and Eye Wear
If you have an eyesight problem or face blurry vision, regular eye tests and medication can help you in more ways than one. Your eye doctor might suggest getting a glycosylated hemoglobin test if you have diabetes, among other tests. It is important to bring your current prescription lenses and eyewear in, alongside other reports to get a final actionable diagnosis.