Diabetic Retinopathy

If you have diabetes, you need to be aware that it can have a significant impact on your vision.  A condition called diabetic retinopathy can damage the retina’s blood vessels.  This is a progressive disease.  In the early stages, there will be only mild vision problems.  As the disease worsens, it can lead to blindness if untreated. 

At Foster Vision in Portland OR, our optometry team works with patients to ensure the health of their eyes and to detect any signs of diabetic retinopathy in those with diabetes.

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Calculating Risk

If you have either type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you have a risk of diabetic retinopathy.  The longer that you have diabetes, the more you risk level increases.  While this may not be comforting information, it reinforces the importance of regular eye exams.  During the eye exam, your doctor will be able to examine the retina for any signs of abnormality.  Additional risk factors include:

  • Uncontrolled high blood sugar levels
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • Hispanic, African American or Native American ethnicity

Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy

During the early stages of the disease, symptoms are rarely noticeable.  Regular eye exams help doctors identify any signs of the disease. This disease generally impacts both eyes.  Symptoms to watch out for include:

  • Floaters
  • Blurry vision
  • Dark patches in the field of vision
  • Colors appear to be muted. 

When to See Your Optometrist

Regular eye exams are important, especially if you have diabetes.  Keeping a schedule of routine appointments is important even if your vision seems fine.  If you start having blurry vision or other symptoms, it is important to visit your optometrist for an exam. 

How Diabetic Retinopathy Develops

High blood sugar plays a significant role in the development of this disease. It causes the blood vessels surrounding the retina to become blocked and cut off blood flow.  In response, your body will create new blood vessels, but they are weak and often leak.  In the early stages of the disease, the new blood vessels can leak fluid into the retina.  This stage is also known as non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy.  As the disease progresses, more vessels can weaken and become blocked.  This advanced stage is known as proliferative diabetic retinopathy.  At this stage, areas can start to scar and eventually cause the retina to detach. 

Call Foster Vision Today!

At Foster Vision in Portland, OR our optometry team wants to help you have the best eye health possible.  If you have diabetes, schedule regular vision appointments and let your doctor know about your condition.  They will provide you with a comprehensive exam that can pinpoint any signs of disease or deterioration.  With the appropriate care, you will ensure the health of your eyes.  Call for an appointment today!

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