Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that affects the eyes. It can develop in anyone who has type 1 or type 2 diabetes. However, it’s more likely to happen the longer you have the disease and the less often your blood sugar levels are controlled.
Because there are often few to no symptoms in the early stages of diabetic retinopathy, it’s important to have an early conversation with your ophthalmologist. While this condition can’t be reversed, it doesn’t have to lead to blindness, either.
What is Diabetic Retinopathy?
People with diabetes have a hard time controlling their blood sugar. Over time, having too much sugar in the blood can damage the blood vessels, including the ones in the retina. If sugar blocks these vessels, they’ll leak or bleed. Your body can grow new blood vessels, but they may be weaker or more prone to bleeding.
It’s also possible for fluid to accumulate during long periods of high blood sugar. This fluid can change the shape and curve of your lens, impacting your vision. Once you reach this stage, it’s considered the more advanced proliferative diabetic retinopathy.
Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy usually doesn’t cause symptoms in its early stages. Instead, the signs typically come as the condition progresses into a more advanced stage. Normally, both eyes are affected. Here are the symptoms to be on alert for:
- Blurred vision
- Impaired color vision
- Eye floaters
- Poor night vision
- Dark or empty areas in your vision
Left untreated, diabetic retinopathy can lead to further complications like a vitreous hemorrhage or detached retina. By seeing your eye doctor regularly, you can keep an eye on your blood vessels and watch for early signs of diabetic retinopathy.
When to See an Eye Doctor Near You
The best ways to prevent diabetic retinopathy are by managing your blood sugar and seeing your retina specialist. Taking care of your health makes it easier to manage your blood sugar while routine eye exams can identify damage to the blood vessels. In fact, diabetes itself can be identified just by looking at your eyes during an exam!
Diabetic retinopathy cannot be reversed but it does not have to steal your vision. Schedule an eye exam with Empire Retina Consultants in Brooklyn, NY today. We use start-of-the-art equipment to diagnose and treat eye disease in its earliest stages.