Diabetic eye diseases include:
- diabetic retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy is the most common eye disease in persons with diabetes.
Diabetic retinopathy cannot be completely avoided, but the risk can be greatly reduced. Better control of blood sugar level slows the onset and progression of retinopathy and lessens the need for laser surgery for severe retinopathy.
A condition called macular edema may occur when the macula, a part of the retina, swells from the leaking fluid and causes blurred vision. When new vessels grow on the surface of the retina, they can bleed (hemorrhage) into the eye, blocking vision.
- having a dilated eye examination once a year strictly managing diabetes by
- taking medications as directed
- using insulin as directed
- eating appropriate foods to manage blood sugar level
- exercising to lower and help the body use blood sugar
- testing blood-sugar levels regularly
- testing urine for ketone levels regularly
visual acuity test – the common eye chart test (see right), which measures vision ability at various distances.
pupil dilation – the pupil is widened with eyedrops to allow a close-up examination of the eye’s retina.
tonometry – a standard test to determine the fluid pressure inside the eye.
ophthalmoscope – a physician performs a detailed examination of the retina using a special magnifying glass.
- your age, overall health, and medical history
- extent of the disease
- your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
- expectations for the course of the disease
- your opinion or preference
According to the National Eye Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, even people with advance retinopathy have a 90 percent chance of keeping their vision when they seek treatment before the retina becomes severely damaged. Treatment for diabetic retinopathy may include:
- laser surgery – often used to treat macular edema and proliferative retinopathy; involves shrinking the abnormal blood vessels, or sealing the leaking ones.
- vitrectomy – a type of procedure that involves removing the cloudy vitreous (the clear, jelly-like substance that fills the center of the eye) and replacing it with a salt solution. Vitrectomies are particularly effective in persons with insulin-dependent diabetes, who may be at a greater risk of blindness due to a hemorrhage in the eye.