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Diabetic Retinopathy: Can You Keep Your Vision From Failing Completely?

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If you suffer from diabetes, you may go through a number of problems with your health, including diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy affects the delicate retinas in your eyes. If left untreated, diabetic retinopathy can lead to permanent eye damage or vision loss. Here are things to know about your eye condition and how you can keep your vision from failing completely.

Why Do You Have Diabetic Retinopathy?

Diabetes develops when your blood sugar levels become higher than normal. High blood sugar damages different tissues in your body, including the tiny blood vessels inside and around your eyes' retinas. If the blood vessels in your retinas become too weak or damaged by high blood sugar, they can swell and leak fluid into the back of your eyes.

In order to compensate for the damage in your eyes, your retinas fabricate or reproduce new blood vessels. The new blood vessels can eventually cover your retinas and prevent them from receiving and processing information. Scar tissue can eventually develop on the surfaces of your retinas. You may also develop small objects called floaters in your eyes. 

If you don't act quickly, you could experience retinal detachment. Retinal detachment can lead to an immediate loss of vision in one or both eyes. 

Can You Save Your Vision From Diabetic Retinopathy?

You'll need to see an eye surgeon or optometrist to treat your eye condition. An eye doctor can use a retinal imaging program or tool to examine the backs of your eyes. Traditional diagnostic tools like the ophthalmoscope may not be sufficient enough to examine your eyes. Retinal imaging tools allow doctors to view your retinas in greater detail. 

If an eye doctor determines that you have advanced diabetic retinopathy, they may schedule you for eye surgery. A specialist can use surgery to repair or remove your leaking blood vessels. Some eye doctors rely on laser surgery to treat patients with diabetic retinopathy. The type of eye surgery you undergo may depend on several factors, including your age and physical condition.

After eye surgery, an optometrist may check your eyes regularly for signs of diabetic retinopathy. You may still experience some minor problems with your eyesight after treatment, including blurry eyes. If you require additional surgery in the future, an eye surgeon will inform you.

If you're concerned about your vision or would like to learn more about diabetic retinopathy's effects on your eyes, contact an eye surgeon or optometrist near you today.