Diabetes can be harmful to your eyes. It can cause damage to your retina’s (back wall of the eyeball) small blood vessels, and result in a condition referred to as diabetic retinopathy.
You might not realize there’s damage to your eyes until the issue becomes advanced. However, with regular eye exams from our optometrist in Sault Ste Marie, MI, Dr. Thomas Choponis, O.D., problems can be caught early.
Importance of Diabetic Eye Exams
Early diabetic retinopathy stages don’t typically cause noticeable vision changes and you won’t likely experience symptoms, so this is why it’s so important you have routine eye exams. Your primary doctor won’t always be able to detect issues. Only coming to see Dr. Choponis at Great Lakes Optometry for a comprehensive diabetic eye exam will determine if you have diabetic retinopathy, and he can provide treatment and/or prevent the problem from becoming worse.
When you visit Dr. Choponis, he’ll ask you some questions about your vision and medical history and have you read an eye chart. He’ll then use an instrument referred to as an ophthalmoscope to examine your retina.
Diabetic Retinopathy Symptoms
In diabetic retinopathy’s earliest stages, there may not be any symptoms. Your initial symptoms might be mild and barely noticeable. However, the condition can become worse over time and cause partial and then total blindness.
You should see Dr. Choponis if you experience any:
Dots and dark strings or floaters in your field of vision
Partial or total loss of vision
Fluctuating vision changes
Altered color vision
Empty or dark areas in your field of vision
Diabetic retinopathy typically affects both eyes together equally. If you are having problems with just one eye, it doesn’t mean you don’t have the condition, however. But, it could indicate another eye problem. The only true way to tell is to set up an appointment with us to get a diagnosis and proceed with an appropriate plan of treatment.
Diagnosis and Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy
Diagnosing diabetic retinopathy typically involves a thorough dilated eye examination. For this examination, Dr. Choponis places drops in your eyes to make your pupils dilated (widened), allowing him to obtain a better view inside your eyes. For a few hours, you may temporarily experience blurred vision until the drops wear off.
Your treatment depends on the type of diabetic retinopathy you have and its severity. The aim of treatment is to slow or stop the progression of the condition.
Early Diabetic Retinopathy
If you’re experiencing nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy (mild to moderate), you might not require treatment right away. Dr. Choponis will monitor your eyes closely to determine when you’ll require treatment.
You’ll also want to work closely with your endocrinologist to come up with ways of managing your diabetes. If you have mild or moderate diabetic retinopathy, controlling your blood sugar can typically slow the progression.
Advanced Diabetic Retinopathy
If you’re struggling with proliferative diabetic retinopathy, you’ll require prompt surgical treatment.
Visit Great Lakes Optometry for a Diabetic Eye Examination and Treatment
Diabetic retinopathy treatments are typically successful, but they don’t cure the condition. Because diabetes is chronic, you’ll likely have to deal with its complications for your entire life if your condition is uncontrolled. And this could include vision problems. If you do develop diabetic retinopathy, treatment can help, but you’ll still have to come into our office for routine eye exams so we can monitor your eyes for worsening problems. You might eventually require additional treatment for diabetic retinopathy.