November is Diabetic Eye Disease Month.
Two of the most common disorders of eye for diabetics is diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema. The causes of both of these disorders is changes in the small blood vessels that feed the retina. These tiny blood vessels provide oxygen and energy to the cells of the retina. Without necessary nourishment, the cells die. Blood vessel changes and damage reduce the ability to see clearly and can lead to blindness.
Diabetic macular edema is a complication of diabetic retinopathy in which the retina thickens in the macular area (the part of the eye responsible for sharp, clear vision and the ability to see color.) Unfortunately, these conditions usually affect both eyes
Prevention of Diabetic Eye Disease
People with diabetes need to have a comprehensive eye exam, one in which the eye is dilated at least once a year. Early detection and treatment of diabetic eye disease reduces the chances of blindness by 95%. Additionally, keeping tight control over your diabetes can reduce the likelihood of getting diabetic retinopathy. Research has also found that controlling blood pressure and cholesterol reduces your risk.
Diabetic retinopathy often lacks early symptoms so it is essential to have regular eye exams. Symptoms of retinopathy include:
- spots and “floaters”
- difficulty seeing at night
- empty spots in your field of vision
- blurred vision
- eyes hurt, get red and stay that way
- double vision
- pressure in the eye
- straight lines don’t look straight
Diabetic Eye Disease Infographic
Infographic from https://nei.nih.gov/sites/default/files/nehep-images/DEDInfographic.jpg