If you have diabetes, it’s important to pay extra attention to your eye health. People frequently relate having high blood glucose – having high blood sugar – with heart and kidney problems, but don’t always know the problems it can cause eyes as well, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In its earliest phase, blood vessels in the retina become weakened and leak. Diabetic eye disease begins when chronically high blood sugar levels damage the tiny blood vessels in the retina. As the condition worsens, circulation problems cause areas of the retina to become oxygen-deprived (or ischemic). This can cause frequent changes in glasses prescriptions and episodes of blurry vision. These delicate vessels hemorrhage easily, causing blood to leak into the vitreous.
If you have diabetes, your cataracts also can occur younger and progress faster. Cataracts cause your eye’s clear lens to become clouded and block the light. Diabetic patients should have routine eye examinations so related eye problems can be detected and treated as early as possible. A variety of treatments for both NPDR and PDR are quite helpful in limiting further retinal damage and improving eyesight. The most common cause of vision loss associated with diabetic retinopathy is diabetic macular edema. Laser treatment applied to the leaky blood vessels (focal photocoagulation) is helpful in preventing further vision loss. Two common procedures used in the treatment of proliferative diabetic retinopathy are pan retinal photocoagulation (PRP) and vitrectomy.
The symbol indicates a third-party website. This treatment does create blind spots in the peripheral vision, but PRP prevents the continued growth of fragile vessels and seals the ones that leak. Vitrectomy is used to remove the blood clots that occur in the gel-like substance that fills the center of the eye, called the vitreous. During a vitrectomy, the retina surgeon removes the blood and vitreous from the eye and replaces it with clear saline solution. The surgeon may also cut strands of vitreous attached to the retina that create traction, which may lead to retinal detachments if not removed. Diabetic patients who are able to maintain appropriate blood sugar levels have fewer eye problems than those with poor control. Diabetic patients can also reduce the possibilities of eye complications by scheduling yearly dilated eye examinations with an eye doctor.