One advantage of receiving regular eye exams at Low Vision Optometry, is that they not only provide a picture of what your vision is, but they also give clues to possible eye conditions that may lead to blindness or low vision. Glaucoma, macular degeneration, or diabetic retinopathy can all lead to vision loss. While all of these conditions, can lead to blindness, diabetic retinopathy is a condition that can lead to both legal blindness and total blindness. Detecting this disease as early as possible to key to effective treatment and maintaining functionality, even with low vision for as long as possible.
What to Consider With Diabetic Retinopathy
If you are diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy, it is important to consider both your actual diabetes management with your doctor and your vision treatment with our optometrist. Some people do not realize they are diabetic until they are diagnosed by an optometrist.
What Happens to Your Eyes?
Having diabetic retinopathy means that there has been damage done to the blood vessels around your retinas. You may be diagnosed as either Nonproliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (NPDR) or Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (PDR). With NPDR, the blood vessels are damaged and may leak blood or fluid into the eye, but your eyes will not make new blood vessels. With PDR, the condition is more advanced, and new blood vessels start to grow, often in the center of the eye.
In the earliest stages, symptoms may not be noticeable, but as it progresses you may begin to experience the following symptoms:
- seeing dark spots or floaters
- worsening night vision
- worsening color vision
- noticeable drop in overall vision
Treating NPDR and PDR
If you know you are diabetic, it is important to remember the possibility of retinopathy. The best and most effective treatments start early. An eye exam can reveal abnormalities in the blood vessels, nerve tissue damage, lens damage, retinal detachment, as well as swelling or scarring.
In the early stages, taking care of your diabetes is the best way to take care of your retinopathy. Blood sugar levels, as well as high blood pressure, can lead to the progression of the disease. In the later stages, scatter or focal photocoagulation may be used to control the leaks in some of the blood vessels, or scar tissue may be removed to restore some vision.
Low Vision Treatment
If diabetic retinopathy has begun to create major obstacles in your life, Dr. Armstrong at Low Vision Optometry can help. If you live in Roanoke, Dublin, Wytheville, Harrisonburg, or the surrounding area, and are experiencing symptoms that are similar to those previously mentioned, call Low Vision Optometry today at (866) 321-2030 to schedule a consultation.