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Diabetes can take an enormous toll on just about every part of the body, including the eyes. Diabetic retinopathy can damage your eyes for years before you begin to notice vision problems, which is why regular eye exams are crucial for dealing with the issue before it can do extensive harm. Fortunately, your Las Vegas optometrist here at Kopolow & Girisgen Doctors of Optometry is highly skilled at diagnosing & treating diabetic retinopathy.
Insulin controls the amount of sugar in the blood; excessive blood sugar has been known to damage blood vessels, particularly small, delicate blood vessels such those that nourish the retina of the eye. The damaged blood vessels may leak blood into the vitreous gel of the eye, a condition called macular edema. A variant called proliferative diabetic retinopathy causes new, abnormal (and leak-prone) blood vessels to form.
Your diabetic retinopathy may lurk without symptoms for a long time. When enough damage has taken place to cause symptoms, those symptoms may include:
The biggest most important step in controlling diabetic retinopathy is to control the underlying diabetes. It's imperative that you work with your primary care physician to get your blood sugar under control to minimize further retinal damage. Your Las Vegas eye doctor may also recommend more frequent eye exams going forward so we can monitor the condition as closely as possible.
The treatment your Las Vegas optometrist prescribes may vary according to the type and severity of your diabetic retinopathy. The non-proliferative type may not require specific medical treatment unless you're having vision problems due to macular edema. Blood leakage that impairs your vision may be treated with a surgical procedure called a vitrectomy in which the clouded vitreous fluid is replaced with saline. Laser treatments are sometimes prescribed to combat proliferative diabetic retinopathy by sealing up leaky blood vessels. Your Las Vegas optometrist may prescribe injectable medications to reduce the formation of abnormal blood vessels in the eye.
If you're experiencing any the symptoms of diabetic retinopathy -- or any other sudden changes in your visual acuity, for that matter -- you should get your eyes checked by your Las Vegas eye doctor at our clinic right away. But keep in mind that the absence of symptoms does not automatically mean you're free of diabetic eye disease. The smartest approach is preventative care, so if you want to make sure your eyes are still doing fine, contact us any of our optometry offices to schedule a Las Vegas eye exam!