At The Eye Doctor Unlimited in College Park, GA, we are focused on eye care. We want to make sure that all of our patients understand how to take care of their eyes, especially if they have medical conditions that could affect their site. If you have diabetes, then it's important that you understand diabetic retinopathy and its causes.
Diabetes requires treatment to keep it controlled, but even with great control, there is a risk to your sight. Working with us will help you ensure that your eyes are staying healthy. If they aren't, our eye doctor can take steps to help.
What Is Diabetic Retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes. It affects the eyes by damaging the blood vessels of the retina. Initially, you may notice symptoms like mild changes in vision, but long-term complications can lead to blindness.
There are two kinds of diabetic retinopathy, early diabetic retinopathy and advanced diabetic retinopathy. Early diabetic retinopathy is the more common form where new blood vessels aren't forming after being blocked. The retina may begin to swell and cause macular edema, which requires medical treatment.
Advanced diabetic retinopathy is more severe and causes the blood vessels to close off. New, abnormal blood vessels grow in the retina, but these faulty vessels leak into the vitreous of the eye and cause scarring. The retina may detach from the eye back of the eye as a result, causing complete blindness.
What Causes Diabetic Retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of both type I and type II diabetes. The primary cause is uncontrolled sugar levels in the blood. Too much sugar in the blood can block the tiny blood vessels that deliver nutrients to the retina, which cuts off the blood supply and leads to the eye trying to grow new blood vessels. These vessels don't develop correctly, which leads to leaking and eventual changes in vision.
Some possible risk factors include:
- Poor control of your blood sugar levels
- Tobacco use
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Having diabetes for a long time
Contact us for an Appointment Today
It can be scary to think of the complications of a serious and chronic disease. Let us help you keep track of your eye health and help if there are symptoms of diabetic retinopathy affecting your life. Call us at The Eye Doctor Unlimited in College Park, GA, today at (404) 768-3500 to schedule your diabetic eye exam and meet with our optometrist. We can also assist if you need an updated prescription for your eyeglasses or contact lenses!