Diabetic patients are at an increased risk for many illnesses, and they may become blind if they don't get regular eye exams. During an eye exam, the eye doctor can look for and diagnose diabetic eye disease, a common complication of diabetes. As long as diabetic eye disease is diagnosed early, it can be effectively treated before the patient loses their vision.
Diabetic eye disease is actually a group of different issues with the eyes. Some of these issues may include cataracts, glaucoma, and damaged retinal blood vessels (diabetic retinopathy.) Out of these diseases, diabetic retinopathy is the most common. It is currently the number one reason that people become blind in the United States today.
Diabetic retinopathy is the result of blood vessel changes within the retina. These changes may include swelling, fluid leaking, or abnormal growth of new blood vessels.
In the early stages, there may be no indicators of diabetic retinopathy at all. The main indicators of diabetic retinopathy, which include severe pain and major vision changes, often don't occur until the disease is quite advanced. It is especially important that diabetic patients see their eye doctor at least once a year for a comprehensive eye examination for this reason. A diabetic eye exam includes dilation. When the eyes are dilated, the eye doctor can view the inner part of the eyes so they can check for the early indicators of diabetic retinopathy or other diabetic eye diseases.
Diabetic eye disease is often treatable. The earlier it is detected, the more successful the surgery can be. Laser surgery is usually the treatment of choice for diabetic eye diseases like diabetic retinopathy and cataracts.
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