Why do diabetic patients require special eye care?
The Griffeth Vision facility provides special services to their patients in Tooele, UT who are suffering from diabetes. These patients are known to be at a very high risk of developing serious eye problems because of their underlying medical condition. Diabetes can cause visual disability and blindness if patients are unable to get proper guidance and treatment and Griffeth Vision is able to provide services that are dedicated to managing and preventing diabetic patients from developing serious eye conditions.
If you are suffering from diabetes, regular eye checkups should be included in your treatment plan for diabetes to ensure that your doctor can detect, identify, and diagnose eye complications early on. This prevents them from getting serious and lead to you potentially losing your vision. Proper monitoring and management is key to keeping good eye health despite your medical condition.
What is included in diabetic eye care?
Eye conditions that are related to diabetes are usually not manifested during the early stages of the disease. This is the reason why patients who do not have regular eye check-ups will not be able to receive the proper treatment for these eye conditions unless they are already in their advanced stages. Early detection is the best way for patients to protect themselves from having these eye conditions, and the only way that this can be done is to have the eyes checked at least twice a year.
Patients with diabetes are recommended to go through a comprehensive dilated eye exam and are recommended to come in to have their eyes checked if they experience any of the following symptoms:
- If vision suddenly becomes blurry and symptoms persist for more than 2 days
- If vision on both eyes are suddenly lost
- If floaters, or black spots and strings that seem to float, appear in the patient’s visual field
- If patients see blinding or flashing lights
- If there is a sudden pressure or pain in the eye area
What are the common eye complications that are related to diabetes?
Diabetes increases the likelihood of a patient developing glaucoma by at least 40% compared to someone who does not have the medical condition. This risk increases as the patient ages, and even more so if he or she has been suffering from diabetes for a long time. Glaucoma is a result of the buildup of pressure in the eye because drainage of the aqueous humor is significantly slowed down causing it to accumulate in the anterior chamber. This pressure affects the blood vessels that supply blood to the retina and optic nerve causing damage that eventually results to vision loss. Glaucoma can be managed by medication and surgery that works by reducing the pressure in the eye to maintain vision.
Cataracts cloud the lens of the eyes and results to visual difficulties because the light cannot be refracted properly. Although cataracts are a very common age-related eye condition, diabetes increases your chances of developing cataracts by 60%. Diabetes also makes it possible for patients to develop cataracts even at a younger age and cause it to progress much faster as well. To treat cataracts for diabetic patients, doctors recommend the removal of the lens of the eye and replacing it with an artificial lens. For milder cases, cataracts can be managed by wearing glare control sun glasses as well as medication.
Retinopathy generally refers to a group of disorders that affect the retina of the eye. These conditions can be classified as non-proliferative and proliferative retinopathy. Almost all patients with Type 1 diabetes will have the non-proliferative retinopathy, while only a certain number of patients with Type 2 diabetes they develop the disease. This occurs when the capillaries at the back of the eye balloon as the blood vessels become blocked. The treatment for non-proliferative retinopathy focuses on the management of the macular edema that compromises the ability of the eye to focus and leads to blurred vision. Once macular edema is managed or stopped, then it is still possible to reverse the visual disability. If left untreated, non-proliferative retinopathy will progress to proliferative retinopathy. Proliferative retinopathy is the more serious version of the disease with the potential for causing blindness. This occurs less commonly in patients, but having diabetes increases your chances of developing it.Diabetic retinopathy can be treated with photocoagulation, which uses laser technology to create tiny burns into the retina to seals off the blood vessels and stops leakage. The early diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy increases the chances of getting the condition under control.