Diabetic Examinations:

 

People with diabetes can develop diabetic retinopathy. Initially, diabetic retinopathy may present with no symptoms but, if left untreated, will eventually, lead to blindness. Diabetic retinopathy occurs when blood sugar levels become continually elevated, causing damage to blood vessels in the retina. These damaged blood vessels can leak or swell, stopping oxygenated blood from passing throughout the retina. As a result, the retina becomes damaged and then attempts to grow new blood vessels. Unfortunately, these new blood vessels don’t develop properly and can also leak.

 

Over time, the abnormal blood vessels associated with diabetic retinopathy stimulate the growth of scar tissue, which can eventually pull the retina away from the back of the eye. This, if left untreated, can cause severe vision loss. Additionally, the new blood vessels may inappropriately grow in the front part of your eye and interfere with the normal flow of fluid out of the eye. This can cause pressure in the eye to build up and lead to glaucoma. Glaucoma causes further damage to the retina, worsening the visual loss.

Anyone who has diabetes can develop diabetic retinopathy, but the risk typically increases the longer you have diabetes. You can reduce your risk of getting diabetic retinopathy by managing your diabetes with healthy eating, physical aerobic activity and taking your diabetic medications as directed. Managing your blood pressure and cholesterol can lower your risk as well. If you smoke, ask your doctor to help you stop.

 

All the providers at Owasso Eye Institute perform examinations to screen for diabetic retinopathy. When applicable, our office also uses state of the art optical coherence tomography (OCT) and high resolution wide field retinal photography to aid in the diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy. Our doctors communicate your retinal exam findings back to your primary care physician or endocrinologist. In the event, we find advanced diabetic retinopathy, our physicians will oversee the referral process to a retinal specialist and will continue to work with these specialists to ensure your eyes receive the most appropriate, up to date care possible.

 

If you have advanced diabetic retinopathy, retinal surgeons will consider multiple treatment options to slow or stop the progression of retinopathy. Traditionally, the initial treatment option for retinopathy has been a laser treatment to stop the leakage of the blood and to shrink the abnormal blood vessels. New research is suggesting, additional treatment methods involving the injecting of medications into the eye to help prevent abnormal blood vessels from forming or progressing may be beneficial as well. More severe cases of retinopathy may require a surgery to remove vitreous and associated leaked blood from the middle of the eye as well as scar tissue that’s tugging on the retina.

 

Regular eye exams, good control of your blood sugar and blood pressure, and early intervention for vision problems can help prevent severe vision loss. Catching and treating diabetic retinopathy early can greatly reduce the risk of visual loss. The standard of care is to have a retinal exam once a year to screen for the development of diabetic retinopathy. We hope you’ll consider trusting the physicians at Owasso Eye Institute for your annual dilated diabetic screening examination.

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