If you are a patient with diabetes
, chances are you are aware of diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic Retinopathy
is the leading cause of blindness in all adults under 75. Early stages of diabetic retinopathy may present no symptoms and vision changes may not occur until the disease progresses. In later stages, you may experience:
- Decreased or distorted vision
- Fluctuations in vision quality
- Difficulty seeing at night
- Seeing spots or "floaters," shadows, or blind spots
Diabetic Retinopathy occurs when blood vessels of the retina, the light sensitive layer of tissue at the back of the inner eye, undergo changes. In some people, the retinal blood vessels may swell and leak fluid. In others, abnormal new blood vessels grow on the surface of the retinas resulting in vision loss or blindness.
Fortunately, with today’s therapies, over 90% of vision loss is preventable or treatable. This is why Austin Regional Clinic offers annual diabetic retinopathy screenings to our patients with diabetes. Screening is easy, takes less than five minutes to complete, and does not require any pupil dilatation or eye protection.
Although all patients with diabetes are at risk for diabetic retinopathy, you may greatly reduce your risk of developing it. Better control of blood sugar slows the onset and progression of retinopathy and lessens the need for laser surgery for severe retinopathy.
While diabetic retinopathy is a serious condition, if caught early it can treat and may even prevent the loss of eyesight. It is important to stay up to date on eye screenings, especially for patients with diabetes. If you’re patient living with diabetes, make an appointment with your doctor today to discuss if you are a candidate for diabetic retinopathy eye screenings.
Online Medical Reviewer: Berry, Judith, PhD, APRN
Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Date Last Reviewed: 2/26/2014
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