How Diabetes Affects Your Eyes

Doctor and PatientDiabetes can have a significant impact on your eye health. If you have diabetes, you are at higher risk of contracting cataracts early and the risk of contracting glaucoma doubles. However, one of the biggest adverse effects of diabetes on your eyes is severe loss of vision – a problem called diabetic retinopathy. This involves severe damage to your eye’s retina and can, eventually, lead to blindness. There are two stages of the disease: the non-proliferative stage, which progresses to the proliferative stage.

The Stages of Diabetic Retinopathy

  • Non-proliferative stage: The non-proliferative stage is also known as background diabetic retinopathy. In this stage, the blood vessels in your retina start to swell and leak fluid and blood into the tissue around them. Initially, vision is not affected. Over time, however, your vision starts becoming blurry. You may even start seeing spots in your sight; these spots are specks of blood.
  • Proliferative stage: In the advanced stage of diabetic retinopathy, blood vessels start growing on your retina – a process known as neovascularization. These vessels tend to bleed and may result in scar tissue as well as permanent blindness. The new blood vessels can be shrunk by means of intraocular injections called VEGF (Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor) Inhibitors. Another treatment approach, which is also the major form of treatment for the proliferative stage, is panretinal laser photocoagulation, or PRP. It is a laser treatment that targets the retina’s periphery and not its center. The result of the treatment is, usually, stopping of further growth of blood vessels on the retina.

If you have diabetes, then it is recommended that you get your eye tested comprehensively periodically. Your retina’s condition is initially tested using an opthalmoscope; if any issues are detected, then a fluorescian angiography may be performed to confirm the presence of this disease.

Want to Learn More About Diabetic Retinopathy? Contact Shammas Eye Medical Center.

Contact Shammas Eye Medical Center for more information on diabetic retinopathy or other eye problems. We have offices in Lynwood, Downey, La Habra, and Whittier, all in Southern California. To speak to us, you may dial 310.638.9391. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

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