There are a variety of different techniques which may be employed to help verify the existence – and severity – of diabetic retinopathy, the main eye disease unique to diabetics.
It is recommended that all diabetics attend a professional, comprehensive eye exam at least once every 12 months.
At Richard and Armstrong Optometry, we are experts in diagnosing diseases early and providing the best treatment. One key to our success lies in our technology.
A primary indicator of diabetic retinopathy (and Diabetic Macular Edema, DME) is leakage from weakened blood cells around the eye. We may inject a dye called fluorescein into your bloodstream (through your arm, most likely) and wait for it to travel to your eye. Using specialized imaging equipment we can observe the movement of the dye to see if any blood vessels are blocked, leaking or developing abnormally.
Ocular Coherence Tomography (OCT) is a standard part of all eye exams at our practice, and produces a high resolution, 3D image of the retina. Even the earliest stages of diabetic retinopathy present with swollen blood vessels in the eye, which we can observe through this high-resolution, magnified image.
We may also test your eyesight and use tonometry to check your eye pressure – both can be useful aids in diagnosing eye diseases.
Of Americans living with diabetes for over two decades, 80% will develop some form of diabetic retinopathy. In severe cases, and when mild cases are left undiagnosed or untreated, this can cause irreversible blindness in one or both eyes. One of the leading causes of vision loss in the world today, it is caused by high blood sugar and pressure levels and can affect many long-term diabetics.
The only way to minimize the potential damage to your eyesight is through preventative eye care. Arrange an eye exam at least every 12 months so we can stay up-to-date on your ocular health.
Diabetic retinopathy can be split into two forms: nonproliferative and proliferative.
Fluctuations in blood sugar levels gradually degrade the blood vessels inside the retina. If they degrade past a certain point, they can rupture and leak a small amount of blood (or other fluids) into the eye, obscuring vision.
In addition to leaking considerable amounts of blood and fluids into the eye (through the ruptured capillaries in the retina), these blood vessels can die off and become a type of scar tissue. When detaching themselves from the retinal tissue, the vessels can tug at the retina. This is a severe issue, as any trauma to the retina can cause a visual impairment, and sufficient “tugging” could cause total blindness through retinal detachment.
This disease is an offshoot of diabetic retinopathy and affects about 50% of patients. This is where blood vessels rupture inside the retina, disrupting the macula. This part of the eye is responsible for your clear central vision, so a bad case of DME could pose significant impairment.
There are laser and anti-VEGF options available to treat, and hopefully halt, DME. The idea behind laser treatment (which can also be used for diabetic retinopathy) is that it seals the leaking blood vessels – this aims to limit the damage, but there is no cure for either disease.
We are located near the corner of W Smith Valley Rd and US 31, east of the Greenwood High School and post office.