Diabetes is a severe disease, and it affects many of your body's systems, including your eyes. Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that causes the blood vessels in the retina to leak. It can also cause abnormal blood vessels to form. Unfortunately, there is no cure for this condition, but the professionals at Fletcher Family Eyecare in Jonesboro can create a treatment plan to slow the disease's progression.
Who Is at Risk for Diabetic Retinopathy?
Although anyone with diabetes can develop this condition, some factors can increase your chances of developing the condition, including:
- The longer you have diabetes, the greater the chance of you getting this condition
- Poor control of your blood sugar
- Having high cholesterol
- Having high blood pressure
- Being pregnant
- Using tobacco products
What Are the Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy?
In the early stages, diabetic retinopathy often shows no symptoms. As the disease progresses, the following symptoms can occur.
- Blurry vision
- Fluctuating vision
- Impaired color vision
- Seeing spots or dark strings in your vision, called floaters
- Empty or dark spots in your vision
- Vision loss
How Is Diabetic Retinopathy Diagnosed?
Diabetic retinopathy can be diagnosed during your annual eye exam. If you have diabetes, our eye doctor will look for abnormal blood vessels, blood in the retina, bleeding in the vitreous, the growth of new blood vessels, abnormalities in the optic nerve, and retinal detachment. If our optometrist suspects that you have diabetic retinopathy, they will perform a couple of tests.
- Fluorescein angiography: This is an imaging test that can pinpoint blood vessels that are leaking fluid or that have closed or broken down.
- Optical coherence tomography: This test provides cross-sectional images of the retina to allow our eye doctor to see how thick your retina is. This can help them see if the fluid has leaked into the retinal tissue. It is also helpful in tracking the disease's progression and seeing if your current treatment is effective.
How Is Diabetic Retinopathy Treated?
In the early stages of the condition, our eye doctor will monitor your condition. As the disease progresses, treatment is essential in preserving your vision.
- Injecting medication: Our optometrist can inject medication directly into your eye to prevent the growth of new blood vessels.
- Focal laser treatment: This is a laser procedure designed to slow or stop blood and fluid from leaking in the eye.
- Scatter laser treatment: This is a laser surgical procedure designed to shrink abnormal blood vessels.
Contact Us for Eye Care from Our Optometrist in Jonesboro, AR
If you have diabetes, it is essential that you schedule annual eye exams with Fletcher Family Eyecare. Our Jonesboro optometrist will test your eyes to check for signs of diabetic retinopathy. If the condition is caught early, treatment can begin early to prevent vision loss. To find out how we can help your eye and vision care, give us a call today.