November is Diabetic Eye Disease Month. Do You Know Your Risks?
- Posted on: Nov 15 2018
One of the primary objectives in our ophthalmology practice is to empower our patients to enjoy lifelong eye health. This goal drives us to promote awareness wherever we can. It is understood that diabetes is a condition that can have far-reaching effects on the body. One of those effects is that diabetes can cause the degradation of vital structures in the eye. Because November is Diabetic Eye Disease Month, we want to shed some light on the risks diabetic patients face and how they can be reduced.
Diabetic Eye Disease and Vision Loss
If you have diabetes, you want to know how your primary condition can affect your general health and wellness. When it comes to your eyes, diabetes can cause a few things to happen:
- As an effect of diabetes, the tiny blood vessels that surround the retina can become weak. Over time, this can lead to the leakage of blood and fluid into the vitreous cavity in front of the retina. The ongoing accumulation of fluid in front of the retina may be referred to as a vitreous hemorrhage, and could eventually diminish vision.
- In response to increasingly diminished blood flow to the retina, the eye may begin to grow new blood vessels. This is referred to as proliferative diabetic retinopathy. The problem with the new blood vessels that grow inside the retina is that they are weak. Eventually, they will also leak and send fluid into the eye.
- Scar tissue can form around the retina due to fluid leakage and broken blood vessels, creating a risk for retinal detachment.
- Fluid accumulation can also seep onto the central part of the retina, called the macula. This is referred to as macular edema. Affected by fluid, the macula can swell and thicken, leading to distorted vision.
Preserving Eye Health
Having diabetes certainly raises risks for eye disease. However, there are clear strategies for preserving long-term eye health. These include:
Managing Blood Sugar
There are several tips for keeping blood sugar in check, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Patients who work closely with their medical team are able to find the strategies that work for their personal lifestyle and needs.
Getting Annual Dilated Eye Exams
The objective of eye exams changes immediately after a diabetes diagnosis. A diabetic eye exam should include dilation because this provides the best access to observe the structures of the eye that could be damaged by dysregulated blood sugar. Early detection is the key to successful vision management and is best achieved with a yearly dilated eye exam.
Schedule a visit with board-certified ophthalmologist Dr. Niki Silverstein at 908.879.7297 to lower your risk of diabetic eye disease.
Posted in: Diabetic Eye Disease