What Are the Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy?

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We've almost all heard about the health complications associated with diabetes, but you may not have heard about the potential risks to your vision. According to the CDC, diabetes is actually the leading cause of new cases of blindness in U.S. adults.

At inVision Ophthalmology Birmingham, we have years of experience working with Birmingham, AL, patients to diagnose and treat diabetic retinopathy, a common eye condition affecting people with diabetes. If you believe you may be at risk of this condition, keep reading to learn more about the symptoms of diabetic retinopathy and the importance of regular eye screenings to help maintain your vision.

What is diabetic retinopathy?

Diabetic retinopathy is an eye condition that occurs as a complication of diabetes. It targets the retina, which is the part of the eye responsible for translating light into signals that the brain interprets as vision. When diabetes causes high blood sugar levels, this can result in damage to the blood vessels within the retina. These damaged vessels may leak or swell, and in more severe cases, new abnormal blood vessels could form on the retina's surface. These changes can lead to visual impairment or even complete loss of sight if left untreated.

What are the early symptoms of diabetic retinopathy?

In the beginning stages of the condition, symptoms are often subtle and can easily go unnoticed. Some early symptoms of diabetic retinopathy you should not ignore include:

  • Blurred or distorted vision
  • Fluctuating vision
  • The appearance of dark spots (or "floaters") in your field of vision
  • Difficulty in seeing during nighttime conditions

Why are diabetic retinopathy screenings important?

Due to the subtle nature of early symptoms, regular screening for diabetic retinopathy is of utmost importance. This involves an ophthalmological exam where the eyes are dilated for a thorough inspection of the retina. Special equipment is used to detect any blood vessel abnormalities, bleeding, or other signs of potential damage. Early diagnosis allows for timely intervention, drastically reducing the risk of severe vision loss.

Can diabetic retinopathy be reversed?

While treatments for diabetic retinopathy exist to slow its progression, it's important to understand that the condition's effects are often irreversible. Various medical interventions, including surgical and nonsurgical options, may be employed to stabilize your vision and help prevent further damage. Alongside medical treatment, effective management of your diabetes through lifestyle changes like a balanced diet and regular exercise is also crucial in mitigating the effects of diabetic retinopathy.

Schedule your next diabetic retinopathy screening today

If you've been diagnosed with diabetes, it's important to manage the condition through regular exercise, a balanced diet, and consistent monitoring of your blood sugar levels. In addition, if you've noticed symptoms such as fluctuating vision or other alterations in your eyesight, it's crucial to schedule a diabetic retinopathy screening at inVision Ophthalmology Birmingham. Your vision is a priceless asset, and early detection coupled with appropriate treatment is one of the best ways to safeguard it.

Your eye health should never take a backseat. Don't delay in seeking expert guidance and treatment for diabetic retinopathy in Birmingham, AL, or any other eye-related concerns. We're here to help you every step of the way.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.