Diabetic retinopathy is a serious eye condition that can result in vision loss and blindness in those with diabetes. It impacts blood vessels in the retina, which is the light-sensitive tissue layer found at the back of the eye. Diabetic retinopathy, caused by high blood sugar due to diabetes, happens to be the leading cause of new cases of blindness in adults.
According to the CDC, diabetic retinopathy affects nearly one-third of adults over 40 with diabetes. Having diabetes is the biggest risk factor for diabetic retinopathy, but when it’s in the early stages, you may not even notice symptoms or vision changes. This is why it’s so important to get your eyesight tested regularly, especially if you have diabetes. Your ophthalmologist in Austin will perform a comprehensive dilated eye exam annually.
Early detection is imperative in protecting your vision from this condition.
To answer the title’s question, diabetes-related retinopathy is not reversible; however, it is possible to slow the progression or prevent it from worsening through proper diabetes management and other treatments, says Healthline.
Slowing the Progression
Once you have been diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy, it’s vital to work with your doctor to maintain stable blood sugar and blood pressure levels. Check out these tips as well:
- See your eye doctor at least once a year to get a complete eye exam.
- If you are pregnant and have diabetes, get a thorough eye exam in your first trimester.
- Follow up with your eye doctor during pregnancy and let them know if you have developed gestational diabetes.
- Don’t smoke.
- Engage in physical activity, eat a healthy diet, and follow your doctor’s instructions for insulin and other diabetes medicines.
Who is at Risk?
Anyone with diabetes can develop diabetic retinopathy, whether you have type 1, type 2, or gestational diabetes. Your risk increases with the length of time you have had diabetes. In fact, more than half of those with diabetes will eventually develop diabetic retinopathy. This is why controlling your diabetes can lower your risk of developing retinopathy.
On top of regular visits to your eye doctor, be on the lookout for these symptoms:
- Eye discomfort or pain
- Persistent redness
- Floaters or flashers in your field of vision
- Double vision
- Loss of peripheral eyesight
- Headache or nausea due to increased eye pressure
- Hazy or blurry vision
- Rapidly-changing optometric prescription
How Your Doctor Checks For Diabetic Retinopathy
Your ophthalmologist will check for diabetic retinopathy as part of a dilated eye exam every year, but don’t worry: it’s simple and painless. You’ll get some eye drops to dilate your pupil and then the doctor will check your eyes for signs of diabetic retinopathy or other eye problems.
Neglecting regular visits, especially if you have diabetes, can lead to blindness in the worst cases. Early treatment is important in stopping the damage and preventing blindness.
While there is no cure or way to reverse diabetic retinopathy, there are ways to slow its progression – particularly by properly managing your condition and engaging in a healthy lifestyle.
Get Screened For Diabetic Retinopathy With Broberg Eye Care
Patients who suffer from type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes must be extra vigilant in regards to their ocular health. The best way to detect and treat diabetic retinopathy is to get regular exams from your Austin ophthalmologist. Whether it’s time to schedule an appointment or you’re in between visits and are concerned about diabetic retinopathy, call us today at 512-447-6096. We have convenient hours Monday through Friday and are located at 4207 James Casey St #305, Austin, TX.