Diabetic retinopathy is a health condition that severely affects a person’s vision. It can also cause a number of additional vision issues, including cataracts, glaucoma, macular edema, and retinal detachment. If it is not treated in time, diabetic retinopathy can result in blindness.

Early treatment of diabetic retinopathy is key when it comes to preventing these progressive health issues. Because of this, developing an understanding of the warning signs is vital.

Do I Have Diabetic Retinopathy?

If you’re diabetic and are unsure as to whether your vision issues are the result of diabetic retinopathy, it’s important to know the symptoms.

Patients with diabetic retinopathy may experience double vision or blurred vision. Patients may have trouble seeing very close details, which can affect reading and performing other activities.

Other signs of diabetic retinopathy include dark areas of one’s vision and floaters (drifting grey or black spots or strings).

If you are diabetic, annual dilated eye exams at Patel Eye Associates are strongly recommended. This can help to ensure early detection of diabetic retinopathy and other eye conditions.

What Are the Causes of Diabetic Retinopathy?

This vision condition is the result of high blood-sugar levels. Diabetic patients experience problems storing and processing sugars, leading to higher blood-sugar levels.

High blood sugar causes damage to the blood vessels. These weakened vessels may then leak and bleed, resulting in vision issues.

Diabetic retinopathy appears slowly as time passes. The longer a patient has diabetes, the more likely they are to experience diabetic retinopathy. Having uncontrolled diabetes puts patients at an especially high risk of developing this condition.

Other risk factors for diabetic retinopathy include tobacco usage, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and pregnancy.

Patients with early diabetic retinopathy experience progression of the condition into proliferative diabetic retinopathy when the damaged blood vessels seal off. This prompts growth of new fragile blood vessels in the retina, which risks deeper damage and the development of blindness.

How Is Diabetic Retinopathy Diagnosed?

Diabetic retinopathy can be diagnosed during a consultation with an experienced eye doctor. At the start of a consultation, the patient will talk to the doctor about the symptoms they have been experiencing. The patient will also go over their complete medical history, including their history with diabetes and various lifestyle factors.

The doctor can perform a number of imaging techniques to determine the nature of a patient’s vision issues. OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography) is an imaging method used to capture a cross-section of the retina. Angiography, also called arteriography, creates a 3-D model of the damaged arteries and veins in the area.

Using these diagnostic techniques, the doctor can determine the nature of the patient’s eye issues. If diabetic retinopathy is present, they will evaluate its current stage and then create an effective treatment plan.

Find Out More During a Consultation

If you are diabetic and experiencing vision issues, it’s highly recommended that you arrange a consultation with one of our experienced eye doctors. To set up your consultation, contact Patel Eye Associates today.