Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic condition that may cause various organ complications if left uncontrolled. One common concern is diabetic retinopathy. Vision Care Associates, your trusted provider of eye center optical services, talks about this problem in detail.
What Causes It?
Insulin is a hormone that regulates glucose levels in your body. Diabetes develops when your body is unable to produce insulin at healthy levels or if it’s unable to properly utilize this hormone. As a result, the amount of sugar in your blood increases, making your blood thicker. This may lead to sluggish blood flow to your organs, including your eyes. Without enough blood, your eye structures may be deprived of oxygen and nutrients, impairing their functions. This may result in visual changes and even blindness if left unmanaged, or what is known as diabetic retinopathy.
What Are the Symptoms?
Your optometrist explains that diabetic retinopathy has two stages: early and advanced. The former, also referred to as non-proliferative stage, is usually asymptomatic. That said, it may cause your retinal blood vessel walls to weaken later on. This may lead to their premature rupture, causing blood and fluids to leak into your macula. Consequently, your macula may swell, causing central vision blurring and dimming.
The advanced or proliferative phase, on the other hand, occurs when your eyes try to compensate for the diminished blood supply by growing blood vessels. Their fragile nature, however, causes them to rupture easily. Blood deposits may settle on your retina, appearing as small spots floating across your visual field. You may also develop scars that can increase your risk of retinal detachment, making you more likely to lose your sense of sight.
How Is It Managed?
Prevention is always better than cure when it comes to keeping your eyes in good health. If you or any of your relatives are diabetic, make it a habit to have complete eye health examinations regularly. Doing so can help in the early diagnosis and prompt management of diabetic retinopathy, especially because this condition does not show any symptoms.
The primary goals when it comes to treating diabetic retinopathy are to stop its advancement and save your vision. The best way to do so is to control your blood glucose levels. Follow your doctor’s prescribed medications, diet and lifestyle changes. We may also suggest performing surgeries or laser treatments to remove the abnormal blood vessels or leaks in your eyes.
To learn more about diabetic retinopathy, call us at (304) 315-6055. You may also complete our form to request an appointment. We serve Parkersburg and nearby WV communities.