Patients diagnosed with diabetes should pay close attention to their eyes and schedule regular eye exams, as diabetes can lead to serious eye conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts, macular edema, and diabetic retinopathy. At Normandy Optical, our team of certified diabetic eye doctors will thoroughly examine your eyes, perform a comprehensive eye disease screening, and develop a personalized treatment plan for you. Schedule an appointment with our Metro-Detroit eye doctors today!
Diabetic Eye Diseases
Diabetes can affect many parts of the body, including the heart, blood vessels, nerves, and even the eyes. Diabetic eye disease is a term for several eye problems that can all result from diabetes. One of the best things you can do for your eyes is to keep your blood sugar at near-normal levels. Steady blood sugar control can slow the damage to the tiny blood vessels in your eyes, which helps prevent or delay the start of eye problems linked to diabetes. However, even with adequate blood sugar management, sometimes these conditions can still develop.
Some of the most common types of diabetic eye diseases include:
Diabetic retinopathy - damage to blood vessels in the eye that can cause bleeding and vision loss and lead to glaucoma, cataracts, and macular edema if untreated. Diabetic retinopathy affects about 30 percent of people with diabetes. While it isn't reversible, it is treatable, and it may be possible to prevent further vision loss.
Glaucoma - a condition that is often caused by abnormally high eye pressure and can lead to damage of the optic nerve, causing blurred vision and vision loss. Having diabetes doubles your odds of glaucoma. Damage caused by glaucoma cannot be reversed, but further damage can be prevented with treatment.
Cataracts - a clouding of the lens in the eye caused by clumped eye proteins that can prevent a person from seeing clearly. Typically caused by aging, but can be related to diabetes and other conditions. Treatable with medicated eye drops, eyeglasses, and special lenses, and curable with cataract surgery.
Diabetic macular edema (DMA) - when fluid leaks into the macula, the area in the center of the retina that is responsible for sharp, straight-ahead vision. Fluid buildup causes the macula to swell and thicken, which distorts vision. Treatment includes eye drops, medication injections inside the eye, and vitrectomy surgery.
Symptoms of Diabetic Eye Disease
Individuals with diabetes can suffer damage to their eyes without displaying any symptoms, which is why it's essential to have your Metro-Detroit eye doctor examine your eyes at least once a year. That being said, some patients with diabetic eye disease or other issues may experience the following symptoms:
Blurred vision or difficulty focusing
Vision loss or dark areas
Spots or "floaters" in your vision
Poor color vision
Eye pain or discomfort
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should schedule an appointment with one of our experienced diabetic eye specialists at Normandy Optical right away. We can perform a diabetic eye exam to identify the issue.
Diabetic Eye Disease Risk Factors
When high blood sugar from diabetes is combined with certain other factors, it can raise your risk of vision problems. In addition to the length of time you’ve had uncontrolled diabetes and how well you control your blood sugar levels, these risk factors include:
Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure
High cholesterol levels
Belonging to high-risk ethnic groups including Hispanic, African American, or Native American
Diabetic Eye Exam
If you have diabetes, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends you have an eye exam each year. Diabetic eye exams are similar to regular eye exams in many ways; however, during a diabetic eye exam, your eye doctor will specifically focus on the health of your retina and the integrity of the blood vessels in your eye. Comprehensive diabetic eye exams can help make sure that eye complications caused by diabetes are caught early and properly treated so that further eye damage is prevented.
The diabetic eye exam is simple and painless. During the exam, your eye doctor will give you eye drops to dilate (widen) your pupils. Dilating your pupils helps your ophthalmologist see inside your eyes more easily. They will take diagnostic photographs of your retinas; the camera is close, but it won’t touch your eye. Your doctor will look for early signs of damage to tiny eye blood vessels and see if your vision has changed as a result of diabetes.
The eye drops take about 15 minutes to have an effect, and your vision becomes blurry. This is normal, and the effects of the drops can last between two to six hours. You won’t be able to drive home, so bring someone to drive you or arrange for other transportation.
Contact Our Metro-Detroit Diabetic Eye Doctors
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes and believe you are experiencing eye complications related to diabetes, Normandy Optical offers annual diabetic eye examinations in the Metro-Detroit area. Not only can our diabetic eye specialists assess your vision, but we can also guide you through the vision-related aspects of your diabetes management efforts.
Our knowledgeable eye doctors are experienced in detecting and treating a wide range of ocular diseases and are passionate about staying up to date on the latest treatment options. When you choose Normandy Optical for diabetic eye care, you can be confident that your vision is in good hands. Schedule a Diabetic Eye Examination Today