Diabetic retinopathy is the most common diabetic eye disease and a leading cause of blindness, but it’s not the only eye condition that affects patients with diabetes. The expert optometrists at Valley Eye Professionals protect diabetic eyes with yearly exams, advanced imaging that reveals disease progression, and early treatment to prevent complications. To schedule a diabetic eye exam, call the office in the Studio City area of Los Angeles or book an appointment online.
Patients with diabetes are at risk for developing diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and cataracts. As a group, these conditions are referred to as diabetic eye disease.
Having diabetes doubles your risk for glaucoma, while you’re five times more likely to have cataracts compared with patients who don’t have diabetes.
Small blood vessels in your eyes are damaged when blood sugar levels stay higher than normal. This damage causes two stages of diabetic retinopathy:
Small blood vessels in your retina develop tiny aneurysms, or swollen areas, which block blood supply to the retina and cause swelling. As more blood vessels become blocked, they may leak and contribute to diabetic macular edema, which is swelling in an area of the retina called the macula.
As diabetic retinopathy progressively worsens, your body responds by growing new blood vessels. The new vessels are fragile and weak, so they start to leak blood and fluids.
As blood builds up, diabetic macular edema develops, which causes loss of central vision. In severe cases, excess fluids cause a detached retina.
It’s important to have yearly dilated eye exams when you have diabetic eye disease, so retinal changes can be carefully monitored.
The optometrists at Valley Eye Professionals use Optos Optomap® imaging and retinal photography to protect and monitor your eyes.
Optomap imaging takes a quick and painless image of your eye. Its advanced technology takes a wide shot that captures 80% of your retina in one panoramic image.
With this large image, it’s easier for your optometrist to clearly see the changes in your retina due to diabetic eye disease. They can compare previous retinal photographs to the current image to detect the smallest changes.
It’s important to keep your blood sugar well-managed with diet, exercise, and medication if needed. Keeping blood sugar within a normal range may prevent diabetic eye disease or slow its progression.
After diabetic eye disease develops, your customized treatment depends on the type of disease. For glaucoma, it’s essential to control eye pressure with medications, while cataracts are treated with surgery to remove and replace the lens.
Diabetic retinopathy may be treated with laser surgery or injections to shrink abnormal blood vessels and stop the growth of new blood vessels.
If you have diabetes, call Valley Eye Professionals or book an appointment online to get started with ongoing care to protect your eye health and vision.