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Diabetic retinopathy is a condition in which the blood vessels of the retina become damaged by excess sugar in the blood stream. When nourishment to the light sensitive cells of the retina are blocked, vision loss can occur. In fact, diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
At California Retina Associates, our nationally recognized team of eye doctors utilizes the most advanced retinal care technology available. Even if you are not suffering any of the symptoms of diabetic retinopathy, if you have diabetes, you need to visit our office yearly for a dilated eye exam. This exam can help detect early stages of diabetic retinopathy, helping ensure prompt treatment when necessary to prevent a permanent loss of vision. We are also able to detect diabetic macular edema (DME) which is a condition that often occurs in conjunction with diabetic retinopathy and can result in distorted vision, vision loss and blindness.
Risk Factors for Diabetic Retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy can occur in anyone who has diabetes. The longer you have had diabetes, the larger your risk for this condition, particularly if you do not carefully control your blood sugar levels. Additional risk factors may include:
- Tobacco use
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
With or without the presence of these additional risk factors, if you have diabetes, it is vital for your visual health that you visit us at least once a year for thorough eye examinations.
Diabetic Retinopathy Complications
Complications associated with diabetic retinopathy include:
- Retinal detachment - Abnormal blood vessels in the eye can result in the creation of scar tissue that pulls the retina away from the back of the eye
- Vitreous hemorrhage - Leaking blood vessels can bleed into the vitreous humor, filling the cavity and blocking vision
- Glaucoma - The growth of new blood vessels can interfere with the normal flow of fluid out of the eye, increasing intraocular pressure and damaging the optic nerve
All of these complications can lead to a complete loss of vision.
Due to the threat diabetic retinopathy poses to your vision, the American Diabetes Association recommends annual eye exams for people with both types of this disease. If you have repeated normal exams, our doctors may allow for longer periods of time in between visits, but this must be determined on a case by case basis. During your visits to California Retina Associates, we will discuss your visual changes, answer any questions about diabetic retinopathy that you may have, and help you determine what steps will best help guard your vision well into the future.
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, please call 619-425-7755 or 760-352-7755 or contact California Retina Associates online to schedule an eye exam at our San Diego or El Centro, California office today.