Diabetic retinopathy is an eye disease that is common among diabetics. However, patients with high blood pressure or cholesterol may also be at an increased risk. The condition results in damage to the blood vessels in the retina, causing the tissue to swell and affect your vision. Diabetic retinopathy can eventually cause blindness. The doctors at Seaside Ophthalmology, Inc., serving patients in the Brunswick, GA, area, provide screening for diabetic retinopathy and coordinate treatment with a local retinal specialist. Timely, accurate diagnosis is of the utmost importance and our entire team is dedicated to maintaining your ocular health.
Risks Factors & Effects
As blood vessels in the retina become weakened, they can begin to leak blood and other fluids, causing tissue to become inflamed. In advanced cases, abnormal blood vessels may also form, burst, and leak. Over time, this results in blurred and distorted vision.
Patients with type 1, type 2, or gestational diabetes are at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. There are certain factors that may increase your risk including:
- Diabetes duration
- Chronic hyperglycemia
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Nephropathy (kidney damage)
Additionally, Hispanic and African American patients are typically at a higher risk. It is important to undergo regular testing for diabetic retinopathy. Monitoring for any warning signs can help your doctor manage the effects of the disease before further damage occurs.
Diagnosing Diabetic Retinopathy
As there are many factors that play a role in the development of the disease, one of our doctors will begin by thoroughly reviewing your medical history. We utilize advanced technology to screen for diabetic retinopathy. During an evaluation, your doctor will typically perform:
- In-depth analysis of the retina and macula
- Testing of central vision
- Measuring the pressure in your eye
- Comparison of previous and current prescription
Determining whether you suffer from diabetic retinopathy and evaluating the severity of your condition are the first steps towards protecting against vision loss.
Diabetic patients may be able to slow or prevent the development of diabetic retinopathy by:
- Maintaining a healthy exercise regimen
- Adhering to a prescribed diet
- Taking all medications as directed
- Avoiding smoking and alcohol consumption
Depending on how advanced your case is, you may require surgical treatment.
Receiving the Care You Need
If needed, we can refer you to our surgical center to see a retinal specialist. Modern therapies are available that treat the damaged blood vessels, sealing the leaking areas and discouraging further blood vessel growth. It is important to note that some patients may require multiple treatments and disease progression may still occur.
According to the ADA, nearly all patients with type 1 diabetes and more than 60 percent of those with type 2 diabetes experience some degree of diabetic retinopathy.
We understand the effect diabetes can have on your health, vision, and quality of life. Our doctors can work closely with your primary physician and endocrinologist to ensure the highest level of care.
Be Aware & Proactive
According to the American Diabetes Association® (ADA), nearly all patients with type 1 diabetes and more than 60 percent of those with type 2 diabetes experience some degree of diabetic retinopathy. If you are an at-risk patient, contact us online or by phone at (912) 466-9500 to schedule your examination.