Diabetic Eye Disease Prevention and Treatment at Vision Professionals of Leawood
Diabetic eye disease, also known as diabetic retinopathy, is one of the most common causes of blindness in American adults. This condition can develop for a surprisingly long time before causing symptoms, but eventually, it can cause vision loss if left untreated. The only way to be sure is to have regular comprehensive eye examinations to catch it while it's still forming. At Vision Professionals of Leawood, we recommend that all of our patients with diabetes have an eye exam every year in our office.
What is Diabetic Retinopathy?
The light-sensitive lining in the back of your eye is called the retina, which converts the light it detects to images and sends them on to the brain. When a diabetic person has chronically high blood sugar levels, small blood vessels in the retina can be damaged. They can leak fluid or blood, distorting vision. If this is left untreated, new abnormal blood vessels can form, causing cell loss and scarring. Eventually, this will affect the vision to the point of complete blindness, in the worst cases.
Diagnosing Diabetic Eye Disease
The only way to tell if you have this condition is with a comprehensive eye exam. Our optometrist will use eye drops to dilate your eyes, then examine them to look for:
- Changes in the blood vessels
- Leaking blood vessels
- Changes in the eye's lens
- Damage to nerve tissue
- Swelling in the macula, the back of the retina
Prevention and Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy
Any vision you lose due to diabetic retinopathy will generally be considered lost, so most treatment is concentrated on the preventative end of the scale. Having a dilated comprehensive eye exam at least once a year is the best first step you can take. In addition to this diagnostic step, your best chance for prevention is to keep your blood sugar under control and within normal limits through diet and exercise. This has even been shown to slow the development of the disease after people have been diagnosed with it.
If blood sugar control doesn't stop the progression of the disease, your optometrist can recommend many forms of low vision therapy to help you to deal with your changing vision needs in your daily life.
Contact Our Eye Doctor in Leawood
If you've been diagnosed with diabetes, it's important that you have your eyes examined as soon as possible to determine the health of your retinas. Our eye doctor in Leawood will advise you during that appointment about further treatment and lifestyle changes you should make. Give us a call at 913-239-9446 and we'll schedule a visit right away.