If you’re one of the more than 30 million Americans living with diabetes, taking care of your eyes should be part of your disease management plan. At Eye and Cataract Associates in Decatur, Alabama, Charles D. Woods, MD, offers comprehensive diabetic eye disease screenings to help you preserve healthy vision. Left untreated, diabetes-related eye damage can lead to blindness. Schedule your diabetic eye exam today by calling the office or using the online scheduling tool.
Diabetes creates excess blood sugar, which damages the structural integrity of your blood vessel walls. Blood vessels in your retina can become weak or overly thick, can experience leaks, abnormal growths, or clots, and can even close off completely. Those changes are referred to as diabetic retinopathy.
In the most advanced stage of diabetic retinopathy, your body begins creating new blood vessels in your retina, which leads to scar tissue. That can eventually cause your retina to detach, which can lead to blindness.
It’s recommended if you have diabetes to get annual eye screenings.
If you have diabetes, managing your disease can reduce your risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. Effectively controlling your blood sugar can prevent much of the blood vessel damage that causes diabetic retinopathy.
Work with your medical doctor to find a treatment path that works for you. Lifestyle modifications and insulin therapy are both effective ways to manage blood sugar.
Routine diabetic eye examinations are also a critical part of preserving your eye health. Proper screenings can catch diabetic retinopathy in the earliest stages. That can help you get on the right treatment path and slow further damage.
Dr. Woods begins by administering eye drops to help dilate your pupils. Once the drops take effect, a special camera takes images of your retinas. You see a bright flash as the photos are taken, but there’s no discomfort.
Optical coherence tomography, or OCT, is one type of imaging. It creates a cross-section image of your eyes, allowing Dr. Woods to examine the thickness of your retina and any areas where blood vessel damage might cause leakage.
Another imaging option is called fluorescein angiography and uses a medical dye to determine if the blood vessels in your eye are blocked or leaking. Dr. Woods chooses the best diagnostic tools for your needs and explains each step of the process before he begins.
In some cases, a combination of lifestyle modification and watchful waiting are all that are needed to address blood vessel abnormalities. In other instances, more involved treatment options are called for.
Should you require treatment for diabetic retinopathy, Dr. Woods uses his network of professionals to refer you to the right specialist. There are laser treatments and surgical solutions that can improve circulation in your retina.
If you have any questions or concerns about diabetic eye disease screenings or would like to book an appointment, contact the office today.