We are at the prime time of year to be completely engrossed in holiday planning. However, as your Central Florida eye specialist, Dr. Croley is here to remind you that your long-term vision is a matter of importance all through the year. November is Diabetic Eye Disease Month, and we have a lot to talk about. First and foremost, we want to discuss how diabetes affects the eyes and how diabetic eye disease progresses.
Diabetic Eye Disease is Sneaky!
One of the most important details that you need to know about diabetic eye disease is that this complication of diabetes will not make itself known in an obvious way until your vision may be permanently affected. The ocular changes that occur due to high blood sugar occur subtly and gradually in the following manner:
- Mild non-proliferative retinopathy is the early stage of disease in which mildly swollen blood vessels at the back of the eye begin to leak.
- Moderate non-proliferative retinopathy is a progressive stage of disease in which more blood vessels swell and leak; so many, in fact, that the characteristics of the retina begin to change due to lack of circulation.
- Severe non-proliferative retinopathy is a disease state in which the depletion of blood circulation causes the eye to secrete growth factors as a way to bring more blood into the eye. This happens through new blood vessel growth within the retina and the vitreous cavity, which is normally filled with a gel-like substance.
- Proliferative retinopathy results from leakage originating in the new blood vessels that form at the back of the eye. Numerous blood vessels are now affected, and their brokenness can cause scar tissue to form. The tightness of this scar tissue can cause the retina to pull away from tissue at the back of the eye (retinal detachment). Signs of retinal detachment include sudden flashes and floaters and vision loss.
- Macular edema is a complication of advanced diabetic retinopathy in which the center of the retina becomes thick and swollen, affecting central vision.
Real Talk about Diabetic Retinopathy
We can neither exaggerate nor diminish the seriousness of diabetic eye disease. Patients with Type I or Type II diabetes need to maintain yearly visits with an experienced ophthalmologist to undergo a dilated eye exam. This comprehensive look at the eye is the best way to detect subtle changes that could progress into a severe threat to vision.
We can help you manage your eye health with friendly care. Call our Ocala office at (352) 237-8400.