Uncontrolled diabetes can cause progressive damage to the eye’s retina (‘diabetic retinopathy,’) resulting in vision loss.
In the early stages, diabetic retinopathy is painless and often produces no symptoms. A dilated eye exam can help detect it BEFORE symptoms occur.
If retinopathy leads to macular edema, you may notice a gradual blurring of your vision. Reading and other close work may become more difficult. If the abnormal vessels bleed, vision may become spotty, hazy, or disappear completely.
Did you know?
An estimated 16 million people in the United States have Type-2 diabetes, and as many as 9 million of these cases are undiagnosed. Unfortunately, the effects of long-term, uncontrolled diabetes on vision are under-reported.
Diabetic retinopathy can be treated and vision loss prevented if diagnosed early enough. For those at risk, it’s very important to have a yearly dilated eye exam.
Your family eye care doctors at Seidenberg Protzko Eye Associates can tell you if you show signs of diabetic eye disease by looking at the inside of the eye with a special instrument called an ophthalmoscope.
To better see inside the eye, we may dilate (widen) your pupil with eye drops.
Your eyes will be more sensitive to light for a brief time after a dilated eye exam, so bring sunglasses to your exam or have someone drive you home.
Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in adults.
It is a complication that can arise from blood vessel damage in the retinal tissue. There may not be any immediate symptoms. As many as 45% of diabetic people have the complication in some form. Over time, it can cause complete loss of vision, and in some cases, the blood vessels swell, and leak fluid. This fluid can directly influence the ability to see, and can cause damage to the eye.
Regular eye exams are of particular importance to diabetics, as this condition is not easily detected early without professional care. No pain or discomfort is felt by diabetic retinopathy, and vision is only lost once fluid has begun to leak.