November is Diabetic Eye Disease Month. Here’s What You Should Know.
At Pasadena Eye Associates, it is our goal to provide our patients with the exact eye care they need. This is why our services range from basic eye exams to advanced ophthalmology care for the management of eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy. November is Diabetic Eye Disease Month, so we’d like to discuss how this chronic medical condition can affect long-term eye health.
Diabetic Eye Disease and Vision Loss
A diabetes diagnosis is not a simple matter. Diabetes can be the cause of a number of secondary health problems. When blood sugar goes from very high to very low, or anywhere outside of a normal range, the eyes eventually suffer. A few ways that they do include:
- The tiny blood vessels on the retina swell at the earliest stage of diabetic eye disease. Swelling causes microaneurysms, or subtle bleeding, into the retina. This is referred to as mild non-proliferative retinopathy.
- Swelling and distortion of the blood vessels in and around the retina worsen over time. This can diminish the circulation of blood into the back of the eye, causing the retina to change. This is referred to as moderate non-proliferative retinopathy.
- As the severity of blockage in ocular blood vessels increases, the eye begins to grow new blood vessels. This is referred to as severe non-proliferative retinopathy.
- In the advanced stage of retinopathy, the blood vessels that have grown in the retina and the vitreous cavity in front of the retina also leak. This is because the blood vessels that have developed are also weak and fragile. The broken blood vessels that occur in proliferative diabetic retinopathy may form scar tissue, causing the retina to pull away from surrounding tissue (retinal detachment).
- The center of the retina, a structure called the macula, can also accumulate fluid. As it does, this structure can swell and thicken, distorting central vision.
Protecting Your Eyes
If you have been diagnosed with either Type I or Type II diabetes, you are at risk for diabetic eye disease. However, the ability to prolong optimal eye health is completely within your control. First, work closely with your medical team to keep your blood sugar within normal range. Second, schedule a dilated eye exam at Pasadena Eye Associates. This annual exam provides the earliest detection of changes within the eye that may indicate retinopathy.
Call (713) 473-5715 to schedule your eye exam with us.