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Diabetes and Blindness

Patients who are currently diagnosed with diabetes, either type 1 or type 2, often ask eye doctors in Miami about how their condition is going to affect their vision. This is a good question for diabetic patients to ask because there are conditions related to diabetes that can actually cause a person to go blind. The most common issue a Miami optometrist sees is diabetic retinopathy. This is a condition related to diabetes that affects the retina in a patient’s eyes. It most commonly affects both eyes if a patient has it, and it’s the leading cause of vision loss in people who are diabetic. Diabetic retinopathy is most commonly seen in patients who don’t control their diabetes well enough and have high blood sugar levels too often.

Severity of Diabetic Retinopathy

When someone is suffering from this condition and makes an appointment with their Miami eye doctor, they are likely going to be diagnosed at a certain stage of the disease. With diabetic retinopathy, there are different levels of severity that determine how the condition is going to be treated. These are the different stages of this condition:

● Mild nonproliferative. This is the beginning stages of the disease where microaneurysms cause fluid to leak into the retina, mildly obscuring vision.

● Moderate nonproliferative. At this stage of the disease, blood vessels that support the retina may become swollen. This will cause a patient’s vision to become blurred and sometimes they will temporarily lose their sight.

● Severe nonproliferative. This level of diabetic retinopathy is one of the most severe, where blood vessels that support the retina are completely blocked. The growth factors that signal the retina to form new cells may be nonfunctional.

● Proliferative diabetic retinopathy. This is the most advanced stage of the disease, where fragile new cells are growing along the inside of the vitreous gel, the fluid-filled portion of the eye. At this stage of the disease, patients are most susceptible to retinal detachment.

Prevent Diabetic Blindness

Those who are thinking about making an appointment with their eye doctor in Miami to figure out how they can prevent vision problems related to their diabetes are going to be told to simply keep it under control and to get regular examinations. Those with diabetes should be checking their blood sugar and taking their insulin as often as the doctor recommends, or they are going to suffer from other health and vision problems. Also, people with diabetes should be getting two or three vision exams each year, especially if they have had it for a long time. Those who have diabetes for extended periods of time are more susceptible to diabetic retinopathy and blindness.

photo credit: Helen via photopin (license)