Diabetic retinopathy is a condition in which the retina, the back portion of the eye which is responsible for vision, is damaged due to systemic changes caused by having high blood sugars for an extended period of time. Diabetic retinopathy can span the spectrum from causing no changes in vision to complete blindness. The only way for a patient with diabetes to know if they have retinopathy is to have a dilated eye examination by an ophthalmologist.
How often should a diabetic patient have a dilated eye exam?
Both the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Diabetes Association recommend yearly eye exams for diabetic patients.
What are the treatment options for diabetic retinopathy?
Like many diseases, the ideal way to treat diabetic retinopathy is to prevent it from ever developing. Maintaining close control of your blood sugar and blood pressure can potentially prevent the onset of diabetic retinopathy and also improve existing retinopathy. If the retinopathy is advanced enough, various laser treatments and medications, which are injected into the eye, can be used to help treat the disease.