Diabetic retinopathy, the most common diabetic eye disease, is a leading cause of blindness in American adults. It is caused by changes in blood vessels of the retina.
People with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are at risk. Between 40-45% of Americans diagnosed with diabetes have some stage of diabetic retinopathy. That is why everyone with diabetes should get a comprehensive dilated eye exam by an eye care professional at least once a year.
Diabetic Retinopathy Symptoms
Often there are no symptoms in the early stages of the disease, nor is there any pain, which is another reason diabetics should have an annual exam by an ophthalmologist. No treatment is needed unless there is macular edema or bleeding inside the eye. To prevent progression of the disease, diabetics should control their levels of blood sugar, blood pressure and blood cholesterol.
In advanced stages or proliferative retinopathy, you may see specks of blood “floating” in your vision. If these are seen, an appointment should be made immediately with one of the retina specialists at Carolinas Centers for Sight, P.C. in Florence.
Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy
If left untreated, proliferative retinopathy can cause severe vision loss and even blindness. The earlier it is treated, the more likely treatment will be effective. Scatter laser surgery is used to shrink the abnormal blood vessels in one or more treatment sessions.
If you are diabetic, stay proactive with your eye health by having a comprehensive eye exam every year with one of our retina specialists. Call our Florence office at 843.664.9393 or our Sumter office at 803.775.1772 to schedule an appointment.