You probably know that diabetes is a serious disease that produces all kinds of complications, from nerve damage to kidney failure. But did you know that diabetes can also destroy your eyesight? A condition called diabetic retinopathy can do permanent, progressive damage to the delicate tissues of the retinas, robbing you of your vision slowly but surely. The good news is that comprehensive eye exams can catch this condition early, allowing treatment to begin as soon as possible — and you can get this sight-saving care here at VAL-UVision from our optometrists in Jacksonville, FL.
Diabetes is a complex condition, but the bottom line is that your blood has too much sugar in it due to a failure in your ability to produce enough insulin to keep the sugar level under control. The excess sugar damages various tissues, notably blood vessels. The small, fragile blood vessels of the eye are among the first to be affected by diabetes. As the blood vessels of the retina fail, they may leak blood into an area called the macula (which controls your central field of vision). The macula may swell up, distorting your vision. The eye may respond to the blood vessel damage by hurriedly crating new blood vessels. However, these new vessels are even more delicate the originals and they often leak blood into the clear vitreous of the eye.
Diabetic retinopathy may develop “silently” for some time. But at some point, you may notice symptoms such as:
Prevention is always the wisest strategy with any irreversible eye disease, and diabetic retinopathy is no exception. Annual comprehensive eye exams at VAL-UVision can reveal the presence of this disease long before you might otherwise be aware of it, allowing for the earliest possible intervention. Retinal evaluations under pupil dilation let your optometrist see even the smallest changes in your vascular health.
The primary strategy for treating diabetic retinopathy is treating diabetes itself. Your optometrist will urge you to consult your physician about medication and other techniques for regulating your blood sugar. In some cases, injectable medications may be recommended to prevent the eye from creating new, weak-walled blood vessels. We can even refer you for an advanced procedure such as vitrectomy to clear the eye of leaked blood.
Don’t take any chances with your eyes. Call 904-721-7700 to schedule a comprehensive eye exam with our Jacksonville optometrists at VAL-Uvision.