Diabetes is associated with several eye health issues including cataracts and glaucoma, but the most well known diabetic eye disease is diabetic retinopathy.
Not only are our doctors at Bright Eyes Vision, residency trained and proficient in examining your eyes for possible diabetic changes but are also proud members of The Pennsylvania Diabetic Alliance.
The Pennsylvania Diabetic Eye Health Alliance (PDEHA) is a program designed to target known public health concerns surrounding the care of diabetics. It specifically addresses the optometric evaluation of the diabetic patient and disease management issues such as timeliness, accessibility of care, professional communication, quality management, delivery system cost efficiencies, and clinical outcomes.
Diabetic retinopathy is an eye disease that only affects diabetics. It occurs when the fragile vascular network that supplies the retina – the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye that helps us see – begins to swell or leak. During the beginning stages of the disease, there may be no noticeable symptoms, so it’s important to have your eyes checked at least once a year, if you have diabetes.
Once symptoms of diabetic retinopathy do develop, they can include: dark or black spots in your visual field, or blurry vision, and it increases over time. This is a result of bleeding at the back of the eye, which prevents a clear image from being transmitted from the retina to the brain.
Whether you have type 1, type 2, or even just gestational diabetes, you are at risk for developing diabetic retinopathy. The longer you have had the disease, the greater the risk. It is essential to keep your blood sugar levels under control to prevent vision loss, and this may require a trip back to your primary care physician.
Treating diabetic retinopathy can include vitrectomy, replacing the inner gel-like substance that supports the eyeball structure, and laser surgery.
Most medical insurances mandate that every diabetic patient have a Diabetic Eye examination. After your examination, a letter will be sent to your Primary Care Doctor and/or Endrocrinolist informing them of the outcome. What is found during the course of the eye examination reflects the diabetic changes that may be happening in the body.