If you have diabetes, whether type 1 or type 2, you could have diabetic retinopathy and not yet know it. Like so many other eye diseases, diabetic retinopathy often does not produce clear symptoms in its earliest stages. Unfortunately, because of this, people with diabetic retinopathy often do not have the condition diagnosed in its earliest stages, when it is easiest to treat and manage. By the time diabetic retinopathy starts producing clear symptoms, some damage has already been done to the delicate blood vessels of the eye.
At Broberg Eye Care, Dr. Peter Broberg, Dr. Halsey Settle, Dr. William McGlathery, and Dr. Ximena de Sabra urge their diabetic patients to schedule regular eye exams to help prevent diabetic retinopathy and ensure that it can be diagnosed in its earliest stages if it does occur. They also familiarize patients with diabetic retinopathy symptoms during appointments at their Austin, TX eye care center. Our eye doctors provide our patients with all of the information they need to become active participants in their own eye care.
If you have diabetes, please be aware that you are at risk for diabetic retinopathy and may actually have the condition. We strongly encourage you to schedule your initial consultation with one of our four esteemed eye doctors at Broberg Eye Care today.
The Two Stages of Diabetic Retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy occurs in two basic stages:
- Non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy: During the earliest stages of non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy, the condition is often asymptomatic, meaning that patients will experience no apparent symptoms. No new blood vessels are growing, but the existing blood vessels are beginning to weaken. If the disease is identified during this stage, improved blood sugar control may be sufficient to preventing further damage to the blood vessels, at least for a period of time. If not, the vessels will eventually begin to leak and close.
- Advanced diabetic retinopathy: By this point, new blood vessels will begin to develop to replace the closed blood vessels. These blood vessels will be abnormal and cause a variety of visual symptoms. Eventually, if left untreated, advanced diabetic retinopathy will result in vision loss and blindness.
What Are the Most Common Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy?
If you have diabetes, it is important that you have a comprehensive diabetic eye exam at least once a year, no matter how healthy your eyes seem or how excellent your vision is. As stated above, diabetic retinopathy often produces no symptoms in its earliest stages. If you have diabetic retinopathy and it is diagnosed before it produces symptoms, you stand a very good chance of preserving the health of your eyes for years, and even decades, to come.
Regardless of when you had your last eye exam, it is important that you schedule an eye exam immediately if you have diabetes and are experiencing any of the following symptoms:
- An increase in the number of floaters (e.g., spots, lines, and squiggles in your field of vision)
- Blurry vision
- Fluctuating vision
- Dark or missing areas in your field of vision
- Diminished night vision
- Colors that are not as vivid as they used to be
- Loss of vision
Learn More about Diabetic Retinopathy Symptoms
To learn more about diabetic retinopathy and its symptoms, please contact Broberg Eye Care today.