Eye Exams for Diabetics: Why are they Important?
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Diabetes is a complicated disease that can cause a multitude of serious complications in the body. If left untreated, it can adversely affect many important organs in the body, including the eyes. Regular checkups are crucial in preventing diabetic eye disease. Here is some information on common eye afflictions that may develop as a result of diabetes.
What is Diabetic Retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy is an eye disease caused by chronically high blood sugar. High blood sugar is a result of uncontrolled diabetes. It damages the sensitive blood vessels in the retina, leaving them weak and prone to leakage. The blood and fluid that leaks into the eye can eventually lead to total blindness. The severity of this disease is measured on a scale ranging from mild, moderate, or severe non-proliferative retinopathy to proliferative retinopathy. At the earliest stage (mild non-proliferative) small blood vessels in the retina start to swell and leak fluid. A build up of this fluid may also cause a condition known as macular edema. This is associated with loss of vision and blindness.
The disease eventually progresses to proliferative retinopathy, which occurs when the eye begins to generate new, weaker blood vessels that are damaged faster and easier. The scar tissue that builds up puts the eye at risk for total retinal detachment which will also cause permanent vision loss.
Diabetic retinopathy generally shows few or no symptoms in its early stage. This makes it extremely difficult to detect, and unless it is treated early on, there is always a risk of permanent damage to the eyes. Undergoing regular eye exams, especially patients with diabetes, would allow our ophthalmologists to discover the issue before it can progress and treat it before irreversible deterioration occurs. The doctors at our facilities in Glendale and Scottsdale provide only the highest quality of care, and are committed to detecting these issues as early as possible so that treatment can begin immediately.
Cataracts, which can also be caused by uncontrolled diabetes, cloud the lens of the eye resulting in blurry vision. In the past, it was generally only older adults that were affected. However, now that diabetes is becoming more and more commonplace among younger generations, cataracts are starting to appear sooner and more often.
Diabetic cataracts will also progress and worsen faster. Once the cataract has worsened, the most effective method to deal them is surgery. If you are in Arizona, our physicians are competent, trustworthy, and reliable. They perform these types of surgeries at in Glendale and Scottsdale safely and quickly, so that you can get back to doing and seeing the things that you love!
Glaucoma is another eye disease that may start with little to no warning signs. The most common form of glaucoma (open-angle glaucoma) is caused by a buildup of fluid in the eye, which results in optic nerve damage. Left untreated, this will cause permanent vision loss, and in extreme cases, total blindness. Research shows that diabetics are twice as likely to develop glaucoma. There is no cure for glaucoma, or for damage already done by glaucoma. Only early detection and subsequent treatment can slow or stop progression.
Stop Eye Disease Earlier
Regular eye exams can help prevent serious damage. If you have diabetes, an annual exam is vital to staying healthy and keeping your vision intact. Contact us now or visit our offices in Glendale or Scottsdale to schedule an eye exam!