Uncontrolled blood sugar can affect your eyesight. High levels of sugar slowly damage the blood vessels in your eyes, causing them to leak blood into the eye. Your optometrist will be able to see the damage and leaking during a full eye exam for people with diabetes. This is why having regular eye exams is important for diabetics. The sooner the problem is found, the better the chances your eyesight can be saved. Here are a few treatment options depending on the severity of the problem.
Your optometrist may advise that you get laser treatments to take care of the bleeding blood vessels. The high-intensity beam from a laser is directed through your eye to the damaged blood vessels were it effectively seals any broken or leaking areas. However, this type of treatment is not used on any vessels directly in front of or behind the center of the retina. This will prevent further damage to the retina.
Angiogenesis is the growth of new blood vessels. Diabetic eye disease not only involves damaged blood vessels but also the growth of new, abnormal vessels that leak. Anti-angiogenic drugs prevent the growth of these new vessels. After numbing your eye, the drugs are injected through the corner, into the gel that gives the eyeball its round shape. This treatment will need to be repeated as the drugs wear off.
Steroids can be injected into the eye the same way as anti-angiogenics can be. In fact, steroids are often used in conjunction with laser treatments and anti-angiogenic drugs. While they do not stop the bleeding or reduce any abnormal vessels, they do reduce the edema that often occurs with the leaking blood.
In severe cases of diabetic retinopathy, the doctor may recommend surgery to carefully remove any abnormal vessels and seal any leakage. During the surgery, the gel of the eye will also be removed and replaced with a salt solution. Any scarring or damage to the rest of the eye will also be repaired.
While the above treatments can help with diabetic retinopathy, you must remember that diabetes is a lifelong disease. The best thing you can do to save your vision is to control your blood sugar levels. If you don't, the problem can occur again and may not be resolved as easily. Talk with your general practitioner about ways to better control blood sugar levels and make sure to visit your eye doctor for a full diabetic exam regularly.
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5 November 2019
When a friend of mine started experiencing cloudy vision, they decided to put off a trip to their optometrist's office. Unfortunately, three months later, they found themselves completely blind in one eye—a condition that ended up being permanent. It turned out that they had an undiagnosed eye infection that destroyed their vision. After hearing about that problem, we realized that it might be smart to visit our eye doctor early—before permanent problems set in. Check out this blog for reasons not to skip out on early vision appointments, so that you can protect your family's vision and keep everyone happy and healthy.