The tissue at the back of the eye that responds to light is known as the retina. One of the possible complications of diabetes is a disease known as diabetic retinopathy, which damages the blood vessels in the retina. At Eyes Over Copley in Boston, we know that most cases of diabetic retinopathy begin to develop without creating any symptoms, which is why we recommend that all of our diabetic patients have a comprehensive eye exam every year.
What Causes This Disease?
When your blood sugar is too high for too long of a time, it blocks off the tiny blood vessels that work to keep your retina healthy. Your eyes will try to grow new blood vessels to replace the damaged ones, but they won't work. They'll weaken and begin to leak blood and fluid into your retina, causing damage to your vision. If left untreated, it can even lead to scarring and blindness.
Signs of Diabetic Retinopathy
While diabetic retinopathy creates very few symptoms in the very early stages, as it progresses you might begin to experience:
- Fluctuating vision
- Blurred vision
- Floaters: spots or strings floating in your vision
- Impaired color vision
- Empty or dark areas in your field of vision
- Vision loss
While some of the mildest symptoms, such as floaters, might be something you want to ignore if left untreated diabetic retinopathy can lead to blindness if left untreated. Having regular eye exams and keeping your blood sugar under control is crucial to preventing this disease from causing loss of vision.
How to Prevent Diabetic Retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy can occur in patients with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The most important factor in preventing it from developing is keeping your blood sugar under control using a variety of methods.
- Make physical activity and healthy eating a part of your daily routine
- Take your oral medication and/or insulin as directed
- Test and monitor your blood sugar level regularly
- Quit smoking
- Keep your blood pressure under control
- Pay attention to any vision changes you may experience
It's especially important to contact our office if you're experiencing fuzzy or blurred vision or see spots in front of your eyes, as this can be some of the first signs of developing the disease.
Contact Our Boston Optometry Office Today!
If you have either type 1 or type 2 diabetes, it's important that you have your eyes examined every year to look for developing diseases. If you haven't had an eye exam in at least a year, contact our Boston office to make an appointment. Call us at (617) 859-0630 and we'll schedule an appointment today.