Diabetics have an increased risk for eye problems. When too much blood sugar (glucose) builds up, nerves and blood vessels in your body can be damaged. If this damage happens in the blood vessels of your eyes, vision loss or blindness may occur. Diabetes can affect eyes in different ways, and damaging effects may be found even if you do not notice any changes. Since everyone with diabetes is at risk, it is critical to schedule routine eye exams. Don’t wait for symptoms to arise before you get your vision checked.
In proliferative diabetic retinopathy, the blood vessels become obstructed, and the retina does not receive proper nutrition. The lack of nutrition causes the growth of abnormal new blood vessels in the retina, which can cause bleeding and scar tissue.
In non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy, the blood vessels develop tiny leaks that allow fluid or blood to seep into the retina, which causes swelling and/or blurred vision. Once the damage is done, it is often tough to restore your eyesight. That’s why it is crucial to schedule annual eye exams to allow early detection and prompt treatment.
Georgia Center for Sight performs laser surgery for diabetic retinopathy. Depending on the type and severity, lasers are used to either seal the leaking blood vessels or destroy the diseased portion of the retina. Since there is no cure for diabetes, the retina could receive continued damage, but laser surgery can prevent further visual loss. Treatment with the diabetic laser takes less than five minutes, requires only an eye drop for anesthesia, and is typically described as painless. Patients can immediately return to regular activities following treatment.