One serious development for patients with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes is diabetic retinopathy.  Since diabetics sometimes remain unaware that of the disorder until it becomes severe, regular vision exams at our Redding Eyecare Center are important for getting a diagnosis.  Our optometrist notes that an early diagnosis and prompt treatment can help save a patient’s sight.

Overview of Diabetic Retinopathy

Over time, uncontrolled diabetes damages blood vessels within the retina, the nerve layer that lines the back of the eye.  Diabetic retinopathy develops when blood and other fluids leak from these vessels.  The resulting retinal swelling causes blurred or cloudy vision, typically in both eyes.

The longer an individual is diabetic, the greater the chance of developing retinopathy.  Left untreated, it could cause blindness.

Many individuals perceive no signs of retinopathy in its early stages.  The most common symptoms that eventually appear include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Floaters or spots
  • Black spots or holes in vision
  • Trouble seeing well at night
  • Inability to see colors

Treatment Options

Sufficient control of blood sugar levels can slow the onset and the progression of the retinopathy.  A vision exam from an eye doctor is the only way to diagnose this condition.

Our optometrist notes that the optimal therapy for each patient depends on the severity of the condition.  Our objective is to stop the progression of the retinopathy or to at least slow it.  A comprehensive exam includes taking measurements of visual acuity, assessing the patient’s medical history, performing refraction, measuring internal eye pressure, and evaluating structures of each eye.

In the early stages, monitoring is sometimes the only treatment.  In more advanced cases, a laser treatment called photocoagulation is helpful for stopping leakage of blood and fluid that can result in macular edema.  A laser beam seals leaks by creating burns in the sections of the retina that have abnormal vessels.  When there is widespread blood vessel development, scattered laser burns shrink abnormal blood vessels, causing them to disappear.

Our optometrist encourages patients in the early stages of diabetic retinopathy to come in regularly for exams and monitoring.  We periodically refract patients’ eyes to note any prescription changes for corrective lenses.  Patients can help themselves by making sure they regularly take medication designed to control blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

Schedule an Appointment with Our Redding Optometrist

Vision is a priceless asset best protected by undergoing regular exams by our optometrist in Redding, Dr. Michael Young.  Our Redding Eyecare Center strives to provide all the eye care services you might need in one location.  Be sure to call us today at (530) 222-1233 to schedule an appointment.