Diabetic eye disease is a group of different eye conditions that can potentially affect those living with diabetes.
Each of these conditions present their own unique challenges and require various treatment methods, and they can all lead to severe vision loss, or in some cases, complete blindness if you do not seek treatment from your eye doctor.
If you were recently diagnosed with diabetic eye disease, the experienced eye doctors at Ophthalmology Associates of WNY can help to get your symptoms under control.
What is Diabetic Eye Disease?
Of the four conditions associated with diabetic eye disease, diabetic retinopathy is the most common. It affects the blood vessels that are located in the back of your eye in the tissue, known as the retina.
- Diabetic macular edema is also fairly common, as it is a direct result of having diabetic retinopathy. It takes place when the macula, which is located in the retina, begins to swell.
- Cataracts and glaucoma are also diabetic eye diseases, though they affect other parts of the eye. Cataracts are a clouding of the eye’s lens, while glaucoma is a large group of diseases that can affect the optic nerve in the eye, which consists of a bunch of nerve fibers that are connected directly to your brain.
Causes of Diabetic Eye Disease
Diabetic retinopathy is caused by the conditions in the body that come along with diabetes.
- Chronically high blood sugar can result in damage being done to the blood vessels that exist within the eye’s retina. This can then lead to a person being diagnosed with diabetic eye disease.
- Diabetic retinopathy can also lead to a person developing diabetic macular edema, with about half of all people who have diabetic retinopathy developing DME at some point.
Cataracts, meanwhile, are typically caused by either age or as a direct result of diabetes, and glaucoma can be caused by blood vessels that grow on the eye due to diabetes.
The presence of diabetes is the main cause of diabetic eye disease.
Symptoms of Diabetic Eye Disease
There are many symptoms closely associated with diabetic eye disease.
Over time, you will often experience:
- Blurred or double vision
- Dark spots or rings
- Pain or pressure located in either one or both of your eyes
- Trouble seeing things out of the corners of your eyes
If you are having vision problems and have been diagnosed with diabetes, it’s important for you to see your WNY eye doctor right away.
Detection of Diabetic Eye Disease
Your WNY eye doctor can detect the presence of diabetic eye disease by doing a comprehensive eye exam and looking for certain signs of diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, glaucoma or cataracts.
- During the exam, your eye doctor will check for changes to the blood vessels in your eyes, in addition to leaky blood vessels, swelling to the macula, damage to any of the nerve tissue that exists in your eyes and changes to your eye’s lenses.
Treatment of Diabetic Eye Disease
In many cases, it’s impossible to reverse the damage that diabetic eye disease can cause, which is why it’s important to have regular eye exams to catch issues early.
Those who have diabetes should have comprehensive dilated eye exams done at least once every year, as there are treatments available to slow the advancement of diabetic eye disease.