All You Need to Know About Diabetic Eye Disease

Diabetic eye disease (DED) is a condition that affects the eyes, specifically the retina and optic nerve. The two main types of DED are diabetic macular edema (DME), which occurs when fluid leaks into the macula (the center portion of the retina). The other DED is non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR ), which typically occurs when diabetes is uncontrolled, and the blood vessels in the retina become damaged. Depending on how far it has progressed, DED may also be categorized as either early or late-stage. Early-stage diabetic eye disease (DED) typically refers to vitreous hemorrhage (bleeding into the front of the eye), non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR), and macular edema. Late-stage DED includes proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) and cataracts. If you have or are at risk for diabetic eye disease, you need to see a specialist in diabetic eye disease in San Antonio.


Individuals with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes are more likely to develop diabetic retinopathy. The uncontrolled blood sugar levels damage the retina and optic nerve. Damage can occur very quickly, in a matter of months, if the individual’s blood sugars are not well controlled. When left untreated, eye disease can lead to blindness.


Since diabetic eye disease typically does not have initial symptoms, individuals often do not know they have it until they are examined by an ophthalmologist in San Antonio who specializes in diabetic eye disease. Symptoms may include squiggly lines (also called “wavy vision”), blurred vision or double vision, floaters (shadows that appear to move when looking at a plain background), light sensitivity, and seeing a shadow in peripheral vision. At the very late stages of eye disease, individuals experience pain when exposed to bright lights or when reading.


For ophthalmologists in San Antonio who specialize in diabetic eye disease to diagnose diabetic retinopathy, they will perform a comprehensive dilated eye examination. This diagnosis includes measuring the central visual acuity and studying the retina for any signs of disease. Specialized equipment is used during the test to help diagnose DME and NPDR more accurately.


The treatment for diabetic eye disease depends on the disease’s type, severity, and stage. Laser treatments may be performed to seal leaking blood vessels, and injections into the eye (vitrectomy) or small incisions in the eye (scleral buckling) can be made to drain fluid from behind the retina. Individuals who develop macular edema typically receive steroid injections directly into their eyes. The goal of these treatments is to reduce the amount of swelling and fluid build-up to slow or prevent further eye damage. Depending on the stage and severity of the disease, individuals may also require cataract surgery or vitrectomy.


The best way to prevent diabetic eye disease is to keep blood sugars close to normal (typically less than 130mg/dL). In addition, maintain a healthy diet and weight, exercise regularly, quit smoking, and visit the eye doctor in San Antonio who specializes in diabetic eye disease regularly for a comprehensive dilated eye examination.

In summary, diabetic eye disease refers to any three main conditions that affect the eyes in individuals with diabetes. Most people develop DED due to high sugar levels that damage the optic nerve and retina. A doctor diagnoses the condition through a dilated eye exam. Treatment varies depending on the severity, type, and stage of the disease. You can prevent the infection by watching your sugar levels.

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