Diabetes is a chronic disease that prevents your body from making or using insulin. It is very important for diabetic patients to have annual eye exams as part of their health care. Changes in the eye due to diabetes can be detected during an eye exam and are often the first indication that a person may have the disease, or that a person with diabetes does not have adequate blood sugar control.
Diabetic retinopathy (DR) can occur when there is a weakening or swelling of the tiny blood vessels inside your eye, resulting in blood leakage, the growth of new blood vessels and other changes. If DR is left untreated, blindness can result. Diabetic retinopathy can affect people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
- In early stages, DR is often without symptoms, so regular eye exams are the best way to detect changes.
- Diabetes can cause changes in nearsightedness, farsightedness and premature presbyopia (the inability to focus on close objects).
- It can result in early cataracts, glaucoma, paralysis of the nerves that control the eye muscles or pupil, and decreased corneal sensitivity.
- Visual symptoms of diabetes include fluctuating or blurring of vision, occasional double vision, loss of visual field, and flashes and floaters within the eyes.
- Stable blood sugar reduces the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy, so it is important to monitor and maintain control of your diabetes.
- Annual eye exams with your Markham Optometrist or eye doctor can help identify retinopathy at early stages, so treatment can minimize damage.
- Also see your physician regularly and follow instructions about diet control, exercise and medication.
- In the early stages, DR is monitored through eye health examinations.
- If necessary, DR may be treated with injections of anti-VEGF therapy into the eye, or laser therapy. Early detection of DR is crucial, as treatment is more successful at an early stage.