What is diabetic retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy is an eye disease that alters the blood vessels within the retina. This process can cause the blood vessels to swell and leak, which can lead to mild or severe vision changes. This condition usually develops as a result of complications from diabetes, and if left untreated, it can lead to long-term damage, such as vision loss or blindness. Symptoms are usually not noticeable right away, which is why it's important to maintain routine eye exams to monitor your ocular health. If you have type 1 or 2 diabetes and have noticed sudden changes in your vision, call Baton Rouge Eye Physicians in Baton Rouge, LA to schedule a comprehensive eye exam. We are here to help.
What Are The Causes And Symptoms Of Diabetic Retinopathy?
Causes of Diabetic Retinopathy
According to the National Eye Institute, diabetic retinopathy is caused by elevated levels of sugar in the blood, typical for people with diabetes. These high blood sugar levels can damage blood vessels by blocking blood flow all over the body, especially in the eyes. This can cause fluid and blood to leak from these damaged vessels, resulting in retinopathy over time.
Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy symptoms are not always noticeable at first and typically develop slowly over time. Often, people don't know they have the disease until vision loss becomes apparent. Some possible warning signs include blurry or double vision, blind spots, or seeing "floaters" (small specks that seem to drift through your field of vision).
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Who Is A Candidate For Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment?
The typical candidates for diabetic retinopathy treatments include anyone who has Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. Often, diabetic retinopathy doesn't present any symptoms, so people may not even be aware they have it. Risks for diabetic retinopathy increase as you age, with some patients beginning to experience changes in their vision like trouble reading or seeing objects that are far away. In the later stages of diabetic retinopathy, patients may see dark spots that float in their vision or streaks that may appear like spider webs. Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial to maintaining healthy vision. That's why at Baton Rouge Eye Physicians, we stress the importance of regular eye exams for people living with diabetes.
Treatments for Diabetic Retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy is diagnosed with a dilated eye exam and treatment is usually focused on managing the disease. The most common forms of therapy include anti-VEGF drugs, corticosteroids, vitrectomy, and laser surgery. Other treatments revolve around self-care, such as monitoring and controlling blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Depending on the stage and severity of your condition, treatment options will vary. We also encourage diabetic patients to maintain yearly eye exams so we can monitor their ocular health and vision.
Diabetic retinopathy FAQs
What are the risk factors of diabetic retinopathy?
Anyone with diabetes is at risk of diabetic retinopathy, but not everyone with diabetes develops this condition. That's why it's important to manage your blood sugar levels and attend regular exams. Other risk factors for diabetic retinopathy include age, high blood pressure (hypertension), and smoking.
How common is diabetic retinopathy?
According to research and medical data, more than four million U.S. adults over the age of 40 have diabetic retinopathy. It is estimated that about a third of all patients with diabetes will develop retinopathy at some point in their life.
How is diabetic retinopathy diagnosed?
Diabetic retinopathy is often diagnosed after a comprehensive eye examination. Baton Rouge Eye physicians will check for signs of diabetic retinopathy and perform a number of tests to assess your eye health. Our treatment plans are designed to prevent loss of vision and blindness before the damage is done. For that reason, we encourage patients to come in for eye exams as needed.
prevent Diabetic Retinopathy
If you have type 1 or 2 diabetes, it's essential for you to keep up with routine eye exams to identify disease-related complications as early as possible. Diabetic retinopathy is the number one cause of vision loss for individuals with diabetes. To prevent this disease and other vision problems, call Baton Rouge Eye Physicians in Baton Rouge, LA today. Our eye care team is here to serve you.