Diabetes & Diabetic Eye Disease Management in Fort Worth Texas
Eye doctors at Eagle Mountain Family Eye Care have extensive training and experience diagnosing, monitoring and treating diabetic eye disease including diabetic retinopathy.
Diabetic Retinopathy Symptoms
Diabetic retinopathy does not present with symptoms at first. During the early stages, parts of the network of blood vessels that supply the retina with oxygen can become weak, leaky or blocked, eventually causing the body to compensate by producing more blood vessels. However, they are weaker than normal, and tend to leak fluid or rupture, eventually leading to visual impairment.
Bilateral (occurring in both eyes) blurry vision or dark spots in your visual field tend to worsen over time. Other symptoms may include seeing “floating strings”, worsening color vision, and fluctuating eyesight.
What Causes Diabetic Retinopathy?
Diabetes – type 1, type 2, and gestational – can impact the health of your eyes. Diabetic retinopathy is a complication that can be caused by this systemic disease, and studies indicate that uncontrolled blood glucose levels worsen the risk.
Over time, the tiny retinal blood vessels become damaged and interfere with the light-sensing capability of the sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. If not diagnosed or when left untreated, this damage can progress to vision loss or blindness. Prevention is much more effective than treatments for vision loss.
We urge all patients with diabetes to schedule eye exams at least every 12 months in our advanced Fort Worth eye care clinic.
Types of Retinopathy
The more common form of the disease is Nonproliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (NPDR). No new blood vessels are being developed, yet the blood vessel walls in your retina are weak – and they leak fluid and blood. Retinal nerve fibers may also be inflamed.
The less common, yet more severe form of the disease is Advanced Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy. As the disease progresses, normal blood vessels may close and new abnormal blood vessels develop in the retina. Retinal detachment is a threat, as well as elevated fluid pressure and glaucoma.
Diagnosis & Treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy
Our qualified optometrists will check your eyes thoroughly with a dilated eye exam in our Fort Worth eye doctors office. We may also use other optometric technology and digital imagery to look closely at your retina and inner eye tissues.
Mild cases of nonproliferative retinopathy may not require immediate treatment. However, you will be instructed to come in regularly for eye exams to monitor the condition of your eyes. It’s also critical to improve your blood sugar control in order to slow down or halt the progression of retinopathy. Be in touch with your endocrinologist for help with your personal, daily management of diabetes.
Surgery is typically needed to treat proliferative diabetic retinopathy. Your optometrist in Fort Worth may recommend focal laser procedures to stop blood and fluid from leaking. This procedure is generally done as an outpatient procedure and can be very effective in preventing future vision loss caused by the progression of proliferative retinopathy. Other possible laser treatments include Scatter surgery, which helps to reduce and eliminate abnormal blood vessels. If a vitrectomy to replace the inner gel in your eye is indicated, this procedure will be conducted in a surgical center or hospital, under local or general anesthesia.
On the cutting-edge of scientific studies are some medications that include injections to target the abnormal blood vessels and treat inflammation. Still under research, a range of new treatments for diabetic retinopathy show promise.
Long-term Eye Care
As diabetes is a chronic condition, you must always have comprehensive eye exams to monitor your ocular health. Even if you have surgical treatment for diabetic retinopathy, it is not a cure. Controlling diabetes with proper blood sugar values is necessary for preventing more eye treatments in the future. Continuous monitoring is the key to maintaining vision and eye health.
With first-rate skill, the latest optometry equipment and progressive eye care, we are dedicated to helping you manage the impact of diabetes on your vision. If you have diabetes, please reserve an eye exam with our Fort Worth eye doctors today!