People with diabetes are 25 times more likely to lose vision than those who are not diabetic. As soon as you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, it is important to have a comprehensive eye exam at least once a year. At Southwestern Eye Associates we perform a thorough retinal exam to check for any diabetic complications including diabetic retinopathy.
Everyone who has diabetes is at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy, but not all diabetics do develop it. In the early stages, you may not notice any change in your vision. This is why annual exams are recommended even if you have no symptoms.
Changes in glucose levels increase your risk of diabetic retinopathy, as does long-term diabetes. Diabetes can damage the blood vessels in your eyes causing them to leak which can cause vision loss. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, 95 percent of those with significant diabetic retinopathy can avoid substantial vision loss if they are treated in time.
Your treatment depends on your condition; they may include frequent exams to monitor your condition, injections, laser treatment, surgery or other procedures. Treatment may help slow the progress of diabetic retinopathy and sometimes can restore lost vision.
Early detection of Diabetic Retinopathy is the best protection against loss of vision. You can significantly lower your risk of vision loss by maintaining strict control of blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol and weight control, and visiting your ophthalmologist regularly.