Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in the word. Here at the High Desert Institute of Ophthalmology, we offer comprehensive diabetic eye exams to help catch early signs of eye disease related to diabetes. We work with your primary care doctor to prevent vision loss.
Diabetes is a disease that impairs the body’s ability to produce insulin and leads to elevated levels of glucose in the blood. Having elevated blood sugar levels can increase your risk for an array of eye problems including blurry vision, cataracts, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy.
What is Diabetic Retinopathy?
High blood sugar levels cause damage to the cells that line our blood vessels. In the eye, vessels are very delicate and made up of very few cells. Diabetic retinopathy develops when these cells are damaged from high blood sugar and blood starts to leak out of vessels in the back of the eye.
Diabetic retinopathy can range from mild to severe proliferative retinopathy. Early or mild changes can reversed by lifestyle changes and control of blood sugar. However, more advanced stages require laser treatment and/or injections into the eye to prevent vision loss.
What else can diabetes do to the eye?
Diabetes can affect all parts of the eyes. It can lead to faster cataract formation. Certain types of glaucoma, like neovascular glaucoma, can develop suddenly. This form of diabetic glaucoma can cause significant pain and loss of vision quickly. And in severe forms, patients can develop retinal detachments and ischemia which often leads to irreversible vision loss.