Taking care of your eyes begins with maintaining a healthy lifestyle. This couldn't be truer for diabetics who are at risk for developing diabetic retinopathy. Though diabetic retinopathy may be inevitable for some diabetics, controlling diabetes and making healthy lifestyle choices can greatly reduce the risk of developing the condition. It is also essential that diabetics have their eyes routinely examined so that the condition can be identified and controlled in its earliest possible stages. Dr. Walter Choate provides diagnosis of and treatment for diabetic retinopathy at his Nashville practice, giving patients with diabetes the opportunity to preserve their vision and the health of their eyes.
Diabetic retinopathy is an eye condition which results from chronically uncontrolled blood sugar.. In its initial stages, diabetic retinopathy may cause only mild vision problems, but it could eventually result in blindness. Though not all diabetics develop this condition, diabetic retinopathy is more likely with patients who have had diabetes for many years as well as those patients who have poorly controlled medical conditions that contribute to the disease process. Diabetic retinopathy is a result of damaged blood vessels in the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. Sometimes the damage can lead to a complete blockage of the blood supply to the retina, leading to vision loss. Complications resulting from damaged blood vessels can cause the blood vessels to leak and scar tissue to develop, both of which can interfere with vision.
Diabetic retinopathy has many signs and symptoms but may go unnoticed for years. During the early stages of diabetic retinopathy, most sufferers are asymptomatic. As the disease progresses, however, symptoms begin to present themselves and generally affect both eyes. Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy include:
Diabetic retinopathy occurs exclusively in those who have diabetes; however, not all diabetics will suffer from this eye condition. Some of the factors which are associated with an increased risk of developing diabetic retinopathy include:
Because diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes, treating diabetic retinopathy starts with treating the uncontrolled blood sugar, as well as contributing factors. . Following through with lifestyle changes to help control diabetes is vital to treating diabetic retinopathy. Because obesity and a poor diet are directly related to diabetes, steps should be taken to maintain a healthy weight and healthy diet. Known diabetics should have regular eye exams to diagnose diabetic retinopathy or other conditions, such as cataracts, in their earliest possible stages. Dr. Walter Choate offers advanced diagnostic technology with retinal cameras, high definition OCT laser scanning to assess retinal health through a cross sectional view of the tissue, and computerized visual fields testing.
Maintaining clear vision can help maintain your quality of life and independence. To discuss your treatment options or for more information about diabetic retinopathy, we welcome you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Choate today!