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Diabetic Eye Disease

Diabetic Eye Disease Exams and Treatment At Our Phoenix Arizona Eye Specialists

Given that approximately 11 percent of the U.S. population between 20 and 79 years old has diabetes, it is troubling that less than half of them know about the special risks to vision that diabetes brings with it. The most common issue is diabetic retinopathy, but other eye diseases can be associated with diabetes as well. Regular vision exams can catch these conditions before they progress, but only about two-thirds of people with diabetes get the recommended annual eye exam.

diabetic retinopathy diagram

Diabetic Retinopathy

When diabetics have uncontrolled blood sugar levels, this can damage the walls of the blood vessels. In the eyes, this may lead to several issues. The damaged blood vessels may not supply the eyes with enough blood flow, or they may leak. In the later stages of the condition, new blood vessels grow but these blood vessels are especially prone to breaking and leaking blood into the eye.

If your diabetes is uncontrolled there is a much higher chance you could have diabetic retinopathy. However, not all will experience troublesome symptoms until the damage is severe and vision threatening. The most common symptoms associated with diabetic eye disease are:

  • Blurry or distorted vision
  • Fluctuating or double vision
  • Spots or floaters
  • Shadows
  • Pain or pressure

Although any or all of these may be associated with diabetic retinopathy, they can also be caused by other conditions. A trained ophthalmologist or optometrist can diagnose the underlying cause in order to protect your vision, but you have to go to your yearly appointments so that they can do so.

Treating Diabetic Eye Disease

Diabetic eye disease is usually not specifically treated in the early stages. It usually has no symptoms at this point. However, treatment that is aimed at reducing the progression of the disease is indicated, including any measures that help to control your diabetes and high blood pressure if elevated. Some of these control methods that may also help slow the progression of diabetic eye disease include:

  • Controlling blood pressure
  • Keeping blood sugar levels normal
  • Exercising regularly
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Not smoking
  • Visiting the doctor regularly

More advanced forms of the disease are sometimes treated injection of medicine into the eyes and lasers that seal blood vessels. This can be used to stop leaks or to close certain vessels so that more blood flows to the proper places. In extreme cases, a surgical procedure called a vitrectomy can be done to remove the gel-like vitreous humor from the eye if it becomes opaque with blood.

Treat Your Vision Right with Eye Doctors of Arizona, Your Ophthalmologist or Optometrist in Phoenix, AZ

Eye Doctors of Arizona are yours eye care specialists in Phoenix, AZ. The father and son team of Dr. Warren Heller, Dr. Matthew Heller, Dr. Benjamin Heller take pride in learning about the latest techniques and technologies in eye care and provide treatment for almost all eye conditions, and regular vision exams are essential for your health. Call 602-257-8280 to schedule your next eye exam today.

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  • "I recommend Eye Doctors of Arizona. The entire staff is always happy, pleasant, and helpful. Dr. Heller is wonderful... always thorough, and accurate. An excellent doctor. I was fortunate to meet his second son, Ben, who will be joining the practice soon. Now with their two offices, it is even more convenient to book appointments."
    Erin D. -Customer Since 2015 Phoenix, AZ