In the United States, the diabetes statistics are daunting: More than 29 million adults have the disease, and a quarter of them don’t even know they have it. Another 86 million, or one-third of all adults, have prediabetes. Diabetes is a serious condition that carries a variety of potential complications, including vision loss. At their state-or-the-art office in Austin, Texas, Clear Vision Optometry provides comprehensive eye care for patients with diabetes. If you live in the Austin area and you have diabetes, call the office or book an appointment online to find out how Clear Vision Optometry can help you keep your eyes healthy.
Diabetic eye disease is a term used to cover the various eye conditions that can occur as a complication of diabetes. Left undiagnosed and untreated, each of these diseases can cause significant vision loss or blindness:
Cataracts: This clouding of the lenses, which is normally an age-related problem, is a complication of diabetes that can affect patients of any age
Diabetic retinopathy: This occurs when high blood sugar levels damage the blood vessels in your retina.
Glaucoma: Having diabetes can increase fluid pressure inside your eye and damage the optic nerve
Diabetic retinopathy is by far the most common form of diabetic eye disease, and it’s also the leading cause of blindness among working-age adults. Diabetic patients who have this particular disease don’t always experience the same exact problem. Some may have retinal blood vessels that become swollen and begin to leak fluid, while others grow abnormal blood vessels on the retinal surface.
In the early stages of the disease, you probably won’t notice any signs or symptoms. Diabetic retinopathy can progress without symptoms, so it may already be in advanced stages by the time you feel any discomfort or pain or notice any vision loss.
Having a comprehensive eye exam every year is one of your best defenses against the eye and vision complications commonly caused by diabetes. When Dr. Trinh checks every aspect of your eye health through a series of tests, she’ll be able to determine if you have any signs of disease-related damage that you may not yet know about.
Because diabetic eye disease can progress a long way without any warning signs, it’s essential to check your eyes regularly to avoid permanent vision loss. Although any permanent vision loss you do experience can’t be reversed, there are effective treatments that can halt or delay the progression of diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma, and Dr. Trinh can surgically remove cataracts.
In addition to scheduling a comprehensive eye exam every year with Dr. Trinh, there are lifestyle changes you can make to help protect your eye health. The National Eye Institute (NEI) refers to this model of self-care as staying on TRACK. To stay on track with eye health, you should: