Diabetic eye disease is a group of eye conditions that can affect people with diabetes. While diabetic eye disease may not always be preventable, early detection and treatment, before significant vision loss or blindness, is the best way to control diabetic eye disease. Diabetic eye disease treatment depends on the type of eye disease you have developed and the severity of it among other factors.
Some Diabetic Eye Disease and Treatment Options:
Diabetic Retinopathy: For those who have diabetes, high blood sugar levels can damage and change blood vessels in the retina (back of the eye that senses light and sends images to the brain). A healthy retina is extremely important and necessary for good vision. In some people with diabetic retinopathy, the blood vessels in the retina may swell and leak fluid. In others, abnormal new blood vessels may grow on the surface of the retina. These new blood vessels can bleed into the eye and block vision.
Macular Edema: Macular edema develops when damaged blood vessels leak fluid into the macula causing swelling and blurred vision. The macula is the thin layer of tissue at the back of the eye responsible for sharp, straight-ahead vision. Vision loss may be mild to severe but in many cases, peripheral vision remains. Macular edema is often a complication of diabetic retinopathy. Laser treatment can be used to reduce swelling of the macula for those who have macular edema. Medication injection therapy is also used. In some cases, vision loss may be improved.
Cataract: Clouding of the eye’s lens. People with diabetes are twice as likely to develop a cataract, many times at earlier ages than other people. If diabetes has caused a cataract, the only treatment option is surgery to remove the cloudy lens and replace it with a new one.
Glaucoma: Increase in fluid pressure inside of the eye that leads to optic nerve damage and vision loss. For diabetics with glaucoma, eye drops or pills can sometimes help reduce pressure in the eye. Several kinds of laser treatments can be used to decrease eye pressure. Sometimes surgery is performed to create a new opening for fluid to drain from the eye.
For people with diabetes, controlling blood sugar and blood pressure are the best ways to maintain their health and prevent complications such as diabetic eye disease. It is important to be proactive in all aspects of your health, especially if you suffer from diabetes. Dr. Lemley in Medford has treated many patients with diabetic eye disease and would be happy to help you. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Medford, contact Medical Eye Center at 541-779-4711 or medfordretinacare.com.