Be proactive; it may just save your sight
November is the month that reminds us of all the many things we have to be thankful for. Things like family, friends and beloved pets. Things like good health. Even good eyesight is something to be thankful for. After all, we only get one set of eyes, and they need to last a lifetime!
November is also Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month. Diabetic Eye Disease is a real threat to anyone who suffers from diabetes. There are several kinds, but all of them can result in vision loss and blindness. At Mann Eye Institute, your trusted vision specialists since 1977, we care about you, your health, your eyes and your vision!
Diabetic Eye Disease Can Be Sneaky
Here is a telling truth. Diabetic eye disease is the leading cause of blindness among adults between the ages of 20 and 74. According to the National Eye Institute, over 7 million Americans are impacted by diabetic eye disease!
Even more concerning, at any given time, people with diabetes could develop diabetic eye disease. When blood sugar levels remain elevated over a long period, complications can occur throughout your body, including your eyes.
Diabetic Retinopathy is the Most Common Diabetic Eye Disease
People with diabetes can develop an eye condition called diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic Retinopathy occurs when high blood sugar levels cause damage to the blood vessels in the retina. These blood vessels can swell and leak, or they can close, stopping blood from passing through. All of these changes can result in vision loss.
Diabetic retinopathy typically develops without early warning signs. The damage to the eye can occur slowly and is hard to detect without regular and accurate monitoring.
Diabetic macular edema is a complication of diabetic retinopathy. It is caused by damaged blood vessels that swell and leak fluid into the macula (which is responsible for sharp, central vision). Over time, this swelling can lead to vision loss.
Our retina specialist Dr. Amir Mohsenin loves to help patients navigate caring for their sight as they work to manage their diabetes.
How is Diabetic Retinopathy Treated?
Treatment depends on the severity of the condition, and, in some cases, medical management by our retina specialist is all you’ll need. However, in more advanced cases, we may recommend one or more of the following treatment options:
Anti-Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (ANTI-VEGF)
This injection can help with two problems, reducing the number of abnormal blood vessels in the retina and decreasing fluid.
Focal or Grid Laser
In some instances, we use laser surgery to seal a blood vessel that is leaking or to stimulate the cells under the retina to absorb the leaked fluid. In some cases, you may need more than one treatment.
Panretinal Photocoagulation (PRP) Laser
In more serious cases, where abnormal blood vessels have developed, we may recommend panretinal photocoagulation (PRP). By using a laser to make tiny burns in the peripheral retina, we reduce the growth of the abnormal blood vessels and cause these vessels to shrink.
For more severe cases when the eye fills with blood or in the case of retinal detachment, we may recommend vitrectomy surgery . Vitrectomy removes vitreous gel, blood and scar tissue in the back of the eye. Vitrectomy can repair retinal detachments that result from scar tissue and abnormal blood vessel growth in advanced diabetic eye disease.
Don’t Skip Your Annual Sight-Saving Exam
If you have diabetic eye disease, you face a very real risk of losing your vision. However, it’s possible to reduce that risk. Prioritize having an annual dilated eye exam. It can help detect things that a regular vision test cannot, and it can help detect more serious vision problems.
Annual comprehensive eye exams are critical as they can reveal hidden signs of disease, allowing for more timely treatment. This is why the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) recommends people with diabetes have them annually or more often as their eye doctor recommends.
At Mann Eye, we want our patients to enjoy a high quality of life while managing their diabetes. Our experienced, board-certified ophthalmologists have experience in diagnosing and managing diabetic eye disease. If you have diabetes (even if you aren’t experiencing any eye symptoms), schedule a comprehensive eye exam at Mann Eye today to protect yourself from preventable vision loss. It would be our honor to help you See Life Better.