Diabetes is a very serious medical condition. If the disease is not properly controlled, it can affect various body systems. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to diabetic retinopathy, which affects the eyes. This condition is characterized by damage to the blood vessels in the retina and the formation of new abnormal blood vessels. While there is no cure for diabetic retinopathy, the professionals at Karns Vision can create a treatment plan to help slow the progression of the disease and preserve your vision.
Who Is At Risk For Diabetic Retinopathy?
Although anyone with diabetes can develop diabetic retinopathy, certain factors can increase your risk. These include:
- The length of time you have had diabetes. The longer you have diabetes, the higher the risk.
- Poor control of your blood sugar level
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Tobacco use
In the early stages, you may not experience any symptoms. As the disease progresses, several symptoms may become apparent. Some people will experience just a few symptoms and others experience many. The symptoms include:
- Dark spots or strings in your vision known as floaters
- Fluctuating vision
- Blurry vision
- Dark or empty spots in your vision
- Impaired color vision
- Vision loss
Diagnosing Diabetic Retinopathy
This condition can be diagnosed during an annual eye exam. Our eye doctor will dilate your eyes to get a good look at your retina. This is done to check for the formation of abnormal blood vessels, blood or fatty deposits in the retina, bleeding in the vitreous, and other abnormalities with the optic nerve. If our eye doctor suspects that you have diabetic retinopathy, we will run further tests, including:
- Fluorescein angiography: This test is designed to locate any blood vessels that are closed, broken, or leaking fluid.
- Optical coherence tomography: This is an imaging test that will allow our eye doctor to see any fluid that has leaked into the retinal tissue. It is also used to track the progress of your treatment.
Treating Diabetic Retinopathy
In the early stages, our eye doctor may want to monitor your condition closely. As the disease progresses, there are treatment options available to slow the disease's progression. These include:
- Focal laser treatment: This laser treatment is designed to slow or stop blood and fluid from leaking into your eye.
- Scatter laser treatment: This is a laser treatment designed to shrink any abnormal vessels that have formed.
- Medication injections: Our eye doctor can inject medication directly into your eyes to stop new blood vessels from forming.
- Vitrectomy: During this procedure, our eye doctor will make a tiny incision in your eye to remove blood from the vitreous. They will also remove any scar tissue that is pulling on the retina.
Eye Doctor in Knoxville
If you have diabetes, you must schedule regular visits with Karns Vision Center in Knoxville. Our doctor of optometry will monitor your condition closely and provide treatment as necessary. For more information on diabetic retinopathy or to schedule an appointment with our optometrist, call us at (865) 247-7715.