Preventing Vision Loss from Diabetic Retinopathy

If your diabetes is not managed well, it can cause your body to break down in many ways. One delicate part of your body that’s affected by diabetes is your eyes. One such complication of diabetes, diabetic retinopathy, is among the leading causes of blindness in adults in the United States. 

About 30 million people have diabetes in the US, and one-third of adults over 40 with diabetes have diabetic retinopathy. Because the early stages of diabetic retinopathy have no symptoms, many people don’t realize they have it until the disease has progressed. That’s why it’s important to know the best way to detect diabetic retinopathy and prevent vision loss.

In recognition of Diabetes Awareness Month this November, the expert providers at KLM Eye MDs want to share tips with you on how to prevent and treat diabetic retinopathy to help preserve your vision. 

What is diabetic retinopathy?

The hallmark of diabetes is high blood sugar. To avoid complications, you need to manage your blood sugar levels through diet, medication, and exercise. If your blood sugar level is not managed, it can lead to damaged blood vessels in your retina. 

These damaged blood vessels can burst or leak. Sometimes abnormal blood vessels form. Damaged, abnormal, and leaky blood vessels in your retina mean impaired and cloudy vision. The longer you have diabetes, the more likely you are to develop diabetic retinopathy. And the longer you have diabetic retinopathy, the higher your risk of vision impairment.

How to prevent diabetic retinopathy

Unfortunately, most people don’t know the signs of diabetic retinopathy, or that the only way to diagnose it is through a comprehensive eye exam.

Signs of diabetic retinopathy include:

One of the main ways to prevent diabetic retinopathy is to keep your blood sugar level under control. To manage your blood sugar level, be sure to:

How to treat diabetic retinopathy

There is no cure for diabetic retinopathy, so once you’ve been diagnosed with this disease, it’s essential to seek treatment to slow or halt its progression. At KLM Eye MDs, our retinal specialists perform a thorough exam to determine the extent of the disease and then recommend the best treatment for your condition. Treatment options include:

Laser treatments 

Laser treatments can stop or slow the flow of leaky blood vessels and also treat or shrink abnormal blood vessels. 

Intraocular injections

Injections help stop the growth of new blood vessels and may be used as a stand-alone treatment or in combination with another. 

Vitrectomy

A vitrectomy is a procedure where the vitreous, which is the gel-like substance in the middle of your eye, is removed along with leaked fluids and blood and scar tissue, if there is any. This helps to prevent retinal detachment and to focus light back on your retina. 

For more information on how to treat diabetic retinopathy, call KLM Eye MDs for an appointment today, or request an appointment using our convenient online scheduler. You can also send us a message here on our website. 

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