If you have diabetes or a family history of the condition, it’s only natural to be curious about your risk factors. This is a valid – and pressing – concern.
Diabetic retinopathy can develop in anyone with diabetes. When left untreated, it can lead to loss of vision. Keep reading to learn more about this eye condition!
Diabetic Retinopathy Symptoms
Diabetic retinopathy is one of the top reasons diabetics end up blind. It occurs when the retina’s blood vessels become damaged.
In the early stages, diabetic retinopathy may not present with any symptoms. But if you want to avoid any vision loss, this is the best time to see an eye care provider.
When caught early, vision loss because of diabetic retinopathy can actually be avoided. This is only if early stage diabetic retinopathy is first diagnosed and then treated.
Only eye exams can help an eye doctor diagnose conditions like diabetic retinopathy.
Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy include:
- Impairment of color vision
- Clear vision that then becomes blurry over time
- Seeing floaters – dark strings or spots – in your line of vision
- Fluctuating vision which used to be stable
- Noticing completely dark patches or areas in your line of vision
- Total loss of vision
Note that unlike conditions like cataracts, diabetic retinopathy usually affects both eyes.
Am I At Risk Of Developing Diabetic Retinopathy?
Anyone with type 1 or type 2 diabetes is at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. Risk for developing this condition also increases with time.
The longer you have had diabetes, the higher your risk of diabetic retinopathy is. Those with uncontrolled diabetes are also at higher risk for diabetic retinopathy.
Other risk factors include:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Being of African-American, Native-American, or Hispanic/Latino descent
- Smoking or other tobacco use
Is There Any Way To Prevent Diabetic Retinopathy?
Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent diabetic retinopathy. It is possible to reduce your risk of developing this condition.
It is key that you follow your doctor’s orders when it comes to managing your diabetes. If your blood sugar isn’t under control, you’re much more likely to develop the condition.
If you can stabilize your sugar levels, you can reduce your risk of diabetic retinopathy.
When Should I Call My Eye Doctor?
Those with diabetes need to see their eye doctor on a regular basis. This means that you need regular and comprehensive dilated eye examinations.
This is the case even if you have perfect vision! Diabetic retinopathy does not usually present with symptoms in its early stages.
If you are pregnant and a diabetic, talk to your eye doctor about how often you should come in. You may need dilated eye exams more frequently during your pregnancy. This is because pregnancy often worsens diabetic retinopathy.
For any diabetic patient, it is important to call your eye doctor if you notice blurry or spotty vision. This could be an early sign that something is not right and could be diabetic retinopathy.
Diabetic and worried you may have diabetic retinopathy? Contact Stahl Eyecare Experts in Garden City, NY to schedule an appointment today!