Diabetes is a chronic metabolic condition that can affect different organs in your body without effective treatment. Diabetic retinopathy is a common complication of diabetes, currently affecting nearly 8 million individuals. It is also one of the leading causes of blindness worldwide. Read on as your expert optometrist sheds light on this condition.
What Causes It
Diabetes develops when your body produces inadequate insulin levels or becomes insulin-resistant. The condition impairs the metabolism of glucose in your body, causing sugar molecules to remain in your bloodstream. As a result, your blood becomes thicker, leading to poor circulation. This can limit oxygen and nutrient delivery to your eyes, causing vision loss.
How It Affects Your Vision
Diabetic retinopathy is often asymptomatic in the early stages. As the condition progresses, blood vessels in your retina may rupture, causing blood and fluids to spill into your macula, making it swell. Your trusted eye specialist explains that this may impair your central vision.
As oxygen and nutrient supply continues to decrease, your eyes will try to compensate by growing new blood vessels. These new vessels are fragile and break easily, causing blood leaks into your eyes, which you may see as black spots across your field of vision. You may also experience blurry and fluctuating vision.
How It Is Treated
Diabetic retinopathy may cause irreversible vision loss without prompt treatment. This is why it is important to have regular eye exams, especially if you or any of your relatives are diabetic. We also emphasize the need to take your medications on time and lead a healthy lifestyle to effectively control your blood sugar levels. If the condition is causing significant vision problems, we may administer medication to suppress the growth of new blood vessels. We may also recommend surgery to remove the blood clots.
For high-quality eye care, turn to Shady Grove Eye and Vision Care. Apart from diabetic retinopathy management, we also offer laser eye surgery, high-quality eyewear and more. Call us at (301) 859-4060 or complete our form to request an appointment. We serve Alexandria, VA, and Potomac and Rockville, MD.