Diabetes can cause a number of eye diseases including diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and cataracts, with the most common diabetic eye disease being diabetic retinopathy. It is the most common cause of blindness for people under the age of 55 in the United States. Anyone with diabetes can develop diabetic retinopathy with half of all diabetics developing some degree of diabetic retinopathy in their lifetime. Up to 80% of all patients with diabetes can be affected, and all patients with diabetes are at risk. With annual eye exams, as well as close monitoring, the disease can be prevented and controlled.
There are no symptoms in the early stages of diabetic retinopathy. People with advanced diabetic retinopathy may experience blurred vision, black floaters or sudden loss of vision. In many cases diabetic retinopathy can be treated before vision loss occurs. This is why the American Diabetes Association recommends that all people with diabetes have a medical eye exam at least once a year. Finding and treating diabetic retinopathy early is the best way to control diabetic eye disease.
Your eye doctor can make the diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy. This requires a dilated eye exam to examine the retina is detail. The doctor will look for specific signs of diabetic retinopathy such as damaged blood vessels, hemorrhages, swelling, and abnormal growth of blood vessels. Although there is no cure for diabetic retinopathy, it is very important to control your blood sugars and blood pressures with the help of your primary doctor. At Cataract & Eye Consultants of Michigan, we have the expertise and experience necessary to diagnose and treat diabetic retinopathy.