If you have diabetes and have been developing problems with your vision, you may have something scientists refer to as "Diabetic Retinopathy." The disease is caused by high blood sugar levels and affects the area in the back of your eye (called your "retina"). Consistently high levels may cause damage to the blood vessels located there, causing them to swell, leak, close, or even promote the growth of new, weaker vessels. While it may be asymptomatic in its early stages, symptoms indicated worsening conditions might include:
- Seeing black ‘floaters’
- Deteriorating night vision
- Imperceptible areas of your vision
Make sure to visit The Eye Center in Columbia if you feel you may be experiencing these symptoms. Diabetic Retinopathy is characterized by two distinct stages.
With Non-Proliferative Retinopathy (aka NPDR), retinal blood vessels may swell and leak, which is called “macular edema.” Vessels may also close off completely, which is called “macular ischemia.” In either of these cases, your vision will be blurry but not completely gone. Left untreated, however, NPDR may advance into a more detrimental stage called Proliferative Retinopathy. Contact your local Ophthalmologist at your Columbia, S.C. Eye Center if you fear you may already have, or be developing, NPDR.
In this more advanced form, your retina actually begins to grow a new set of blood vessels, called “neovascularization.” These new, weaker vessels have a high chance of bleeding and depending on the amount of blood expelled, and your vision may be seriously restricted. Complete blindness may also occur in more severe cases. Do not wait to seek treatment if you think you have PDR.
There are multiple preventative measures you can take depending on how far advanced your Diabetic Retinopathy is. Some avenues to consider:
- Diet and Nutrition: Lowering sugar levels may reverse damages
- Laser Surgery: Laser surgery may be used to stop blood vessel leakage
- Vitrectomy: In advanced cases, some optic surgery may be required to remove blood or scar tissue
Contact The Eye Center in Columbia, S.C., to find out if laser eye surgery or other treatments are right for you.