Diabetic & Hypertension Eye Care | Retinal Disorders
Diabetic & Hypertension Eye Care
People with diabetes are unfortunately at a higher risk for numerous diabetic eye diseases, which can lead to severe vision loss and sometimes even blindness.
Diabetic retinopathy is an eye disease that damages the blood vessels in the retina, and usually affects both eyes. Diabetic retinopathy can affect people with Type I and Type II diabetes. There are four stages to diabetic retinopathy:
- Mild Non-proliferative Retinopathy – Minor swelling occurs in small regions in the tiny blood vessels of the retina.
- Moderate Non-proliferative Retinopathy – The blood vessels in the retina are blocked.
- Severe Non-proliferative Retinopathy – The blockage of the blood vessels causes malnourishment to the retina, which causes the retina to send signals to the body to create new blood vessels.
- Proliferative Retinopathy – The newly formed blood vessels develop along the surface of the retina, and are very fragile. Their fragility can cause them to leak, which can cause severe vision loss and even blindness. This stage can also cause macular edema, which can lead to vision loss.
There are no common symptoms present during the early stages of diabetic retinopathy. If you experience blurred vision or "floating" spots, contact your Ophthalmologist as soon as possible.
People with diabetes can help prevent the development of diabetic retinopathy by carefully managing their blood sugar level and blood pressure. If a person is in the final stage of diabetic retinopathy (Proliferative Retinopathy), laser treatments are available to help shrink the fragile blood vessels, which can ultimately preserve the rest of their sight.
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Retinal detachment is a very serious condition which can cause severe or even permanent vision loss. It occurs when the retina becomes separated from the underlying supportive tissues, which prevents the retina from functioning properly. Some common symptoms may include: spots, floaters, flashes of light, poorer vision or a shadow appearance across the top of the eye. No pain is associated with retinal detachment. If you notice any of the above symptoms or believe you have a detached retina it is vitally important to seek ophthalmic care immediately to prevent permanent vision loss.
Floaters are small specks that move in and out of your field of vision. They may be more noticeable when looking at a plain background. Floaters are tiny clumps of cells inside the vitreous humour (the clear fluid that fills the inside of the eye) that can be different shapes.
Macular holes are tears or cysts that can develop in the macula (a small spot in the retina, or back inner part of the eye). This is where fine focusing occurs. A macular hole is usually noticed when there is a sudden decrease in vision in one eye. Macular holes are most often related to the aging process, and are most common in people over 60.
Occasionally, macular holes may resolve without treatment, but we recommend you see your ophthalmologist immediately if you notice a sudden loss of vision in one eye, so he/she can determine if treatment is necessary. This can help prevent permanent vision loss.
The most common treatment for macular holes is a surgery called vitrectomy, which removes the vitreous gel to prevent it from pulling on the retina. Then, a mixture of air and gas is inserted where the vitreous once was, putting pressure on the macular hole, allowing it to heal. This treatment will require a long recovery period to ensure lasting results. For more information about this surgery, please contact our office.
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