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Diabetic Eye Disease

Diabetic Eye Disease and Your Eyesight

The medical term for diabetic eye disease is diabetic retinopathy, a potentially serious condition affecting the retina, the part of your eye responsible for sending light images to the optic nerve. In some people, diabetes may weaken blood vessels in the eyes, creating aneurysms that leak blood into the retina. Although your eyes replace damaged or dead blood vessels with new ones, the new blood vessels are not healthy and will leak blood as well. If diabetic eye disease is not treated by an optometrist, continued blood leakage in the eyes may cause irreversible damage to the retina and permanent loss of vision.

image of diabetic eye disease.

Eye Exams Detect Diabetic Retinopathy

Receiving annual eye care services is essential for maintaining vision and eye health if you have diabetes. If your eye doctor diagnoses you with mild diabetic retinopathy, this means blood vessels in your retina have areas of swelling that interferes with normal blood flow. You may not yet experience periods of blurry vision but you may see eye floaters occasionally. Floaters appear as tiny clouds, specks of dust or wispy threads in your field of vision. They usually fade away within a few seconds and seem more noticeable when you move your eyes quickly from one object to another.

If your eye exam detects moderate diabetic retinopathy, blockage of blood vessels in your eyes have increased and blood flow to the retina is further reduced. Symptoms of moderate diabetic eye disease include flashes of light (may indicate impending retinal detachment), blind or blank spots occurring anywhere in your vision field and reduced depth perception. Eye floaters may appear darker than those seen in mild diabetic retinopathy.

Proliferative diabetic retinopathy involves extensive disruption of blood flow triggering rapid growth of new vessels in the eye's vitreous and retina. Since these vessels are extremely weak, they easily rupture and leak blood into the retina. Untreated hemorrhaging in the retina promotes development of scar tissue that pulls on the retina, a condition possibly leading to retinal detachment.

Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy

Eye care services available to treat diabetic eye disease include photocoagulation (laser treatments) to seal leaky blood vessels, removing the vitreous gel if the retina is not damaged and injections of anti-inflammatory medicines called vascular endothelial growth factors to shrink newer, weaker blood vessels.

Schedule your appointment for a comprehensive eye examination today, by calling Visionary Eye Care at (813) 425-9596. Our staff is always available to answer questions you may have about diabetic eye disease, eye floaters, blurry vision and other symptoms of diabetic retinopathy.

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