The ophthalmologists at Byrd & Wyandotte in Wyandotte, MI specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of eye problems caused by diabetes.
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes and are afraid of losing your vision, you are not alone. Diabetes affects people of all ages, races, and nationalities. Of the almost 30 million people in the United States with diabetes, about half will eventually develop a diabetic eye disease. Diabetic eye disease is the leading cause of blindness in working age Americans.
Diabetes is a disease where the body loses its ability to control blood sugar levels which become too high. The long-term effects of the high blood sugars from diabetes damage the small blood vessels throughout the body. This can cause heart disease, kidney disease, nerve damage, digestive problems, stroke, and other problems in other parts of the body including the eye.
The small blood vessels of the eye bring oxygen and other nutrients into and out of the eye. This is especially true of the retina which is the light sensing tissue at the back of the eye. When diabetes damages the small blood vessels of the retina, the result is called diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy develops gradually and painlessly. Although good blood sugar and blood pressure control can help prevent diabetic eye disease, significant problems can still occur.
Early detection of diabetic eye diseases is critical to maintaining your vision. Regular dilated eye exams are the only way to diagnose these vision problems early before vision loss occurs.
At Byrd and Wyandotte Eye Clinic, we specialize in all aspects of diabetic eye disease and eye care. The advanced diagnostic and treatment techniques we use often keep you seeing normally, allowing you to enjoy life to its fullest.
Diabetic retinopathy is the most common cause of irreversible blindness in working-age Americans. This condition occurs in more than half of all diabetics. The longer a person lives with diabetes, and the less controlled their blood sugar, the more likely they are to develop the condition.
Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy are rare and mild in the early stages of the disease. Damage to the retina can occur before patients notice changes to their vision. Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy can occur in one or both eyes. These include:
Blurred or double vision
Spots, commonly called “floaters,” in your vision
A shadow across the field of vision
Eye pain or pressure
Difficulty with color perception
Eye doctors diagnose diabetic retinopathy with a dilated eye exam. Special eye drops are used to dilate your pupils allowing a better view inside the eye. Your eye doctor will look for swelling of the retina, blood vessel damage causing poor circulation, abnormal blood vessels, and new blood vessels or scar tissue on the retinal surface.
Other testing and imaging may be necessary to diagnose diabetic retinopathy. An annual eye exam is important for both prevention and treatment of diabetic retinopathy.
Several treatments are available for diabetic retinopathy. These include medication injections into the eye, laser treatments, or vitreous and retina microsurgery.
These procedures are designed to stabilize, prevent, treat, or reverse damage caused by diabetic retinopathy. Depending on the severity of the condition, your Byrd and Wyandotte Eye Clinic eye doctor will discuss the recommended procedures in detail with you.
Patients with any type of diabetes are at risk for diabetic eye disease. Scheduling yearly eye exams is important for everyone diagnosed with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.
No, there is no cure for diabetic retinopathy. However, early detection and available treatment options can decrease the risk of progressive vision loss, and serious, life-altering vision impairments. In some patients, treatment can significantly improve vision. The eye doctors at Byrd & Wyandotte will determine the best treatment option to help manage your diabetic eye disease and protect your vision.
It is not always possible to prevent diabetic eye disease. However, there are steps you can take to lower your risk and prevent vision loss. These include:
Yearly comprehensive eye exams
Monitoring and managing blood sugar levels
Monitoring and managing blood pressure levels
Eating healthfully and exercising regularly
We understand that diabetic eye disease can be worrisome and confusing. Our team of diabetic eye disease experts around the Wyandotte area are dedicated to educating you about treatment options and creating a plan to manage your vision. The most important thing you can do for your eye health is schedule yearly eye exams.