Diabetic Retinopathy and the Importance of Annual Diabetic Eye Exams

diabetic retinopathy

November is National Diabetes Month! Diabetes is a disease that significantly affects many areas of the body, including your eyes. It increases the risk for eye conditions, such as glaucoma and cataracts. The primary concern for eye health in individuals with diabetes is the development of diabetic retinopathy. We will discuss what diabetic retinopathy is and the importance of annual diabetic eye exams.

What is Diabetic Retinopathy?

Diabetic retinopathy is a condition that develops when the blood vessels in your retina become damaged. The retina is the light-sensitive portion of the back of your eye. As the damage worsens, you may start losing your vision. Your eyesight can become blurry, less intense and begin to disappear.

This condition affects individuals with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. The longer you live with diabetes, the more likely you are to develop complications like diabetic retinopathy. Therefore, adopting lifestyle changes and learning to manage diabetes is crucial.

Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy

Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy include the following:

  • floaters, or dots and dark strings, in your field of vision
  • dark or empty areas in your field of vision
  • blurry vision
  • difficulty focusing
  • vision changes that seem to fluctuate
  • partial or total vision loss
  • double vission
  • flashing lights
  • droopy eyelid

This condition most often affects both eyes at the same time and in equal measure. If you are experiencing the above symptoms, contact Brashear Family Medical to schedule an appointment with your doctor.

Importance of Annual Diabetic Eye Exams

Eye Damage Can Occur Before Pain, Visual Blurring or Other Symptoms

Often times, there are no symptoms until it has reached an advanced stage and causes rapid permanent vision loss. Your annual diabetic exam with Dr. Brashear can spot it early, however, when it is treatable.

Ideally, treatment occurs before any loss of vision to maintain good 20/20 vision. During your exam, we will also be check for cataracts, glaucoma and other eye problems.

The Earlier Eye Disease is Found, the Better

Addressing diabetic damage to the eye as soon as possible will bring the best outcome. In between annual exams, make sure to report symptoms like those mentioned above to your doctor right away.

Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy can mean something as simple as a prescription change for your glasses or contacts. It may also signal a diabetic change.

Excellent Treatments are Available with Early Detection and Proper Management of Diabetic Retinopathy

With early detection and diligent management of diabetic retinopathy, it can be stopped or slowed.

Our doctors here at Brashear Family Medical are qualified to diagnose, manage and treat the diabetic eye disorders.

If Diabetic Changes are Found in the Eye, It is Likely Changes are Happening Throughout the Body

Your annual diabetic eye exam can be an early warning sign of other physical changes. This is because your eyes are an open window to the blood vessels. Therefore, it is the only place in the body where we can look at the blood vessels.

For more information on diabetic retinopathy or to schedule your annual diabetic eye exam with Brashear Family Medical, contact us with the link below!

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