Diabetic Eye Disease


Dr. Whitman: Thank you for choosing Key-Whitman for your eye health needs. I am Dr. Jeffrey Whitman and I am being joined today by several of the physicians here who concentrate on treating our patients with diabetes.

How can diabetes affect the eyes?

High glucose in the blood increases the risk of eye problems. In fact, diabetic eye disease is the one of leading causes of blindness in adults. Our patients with diabetes need to be monitored very closely for cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy.

What is diabetic retinopathy?

Dr. Whitman: Diabetic retinopathy occurs when the blood vessels in the back of the eye, change. Sometimes these vessels weaken and leak fluid or cause abnormal vessels to grow on the surface of the retina, which may hemorrhage. If retinopathy is not found early or is not treated, it can lead to blindness.

What is proliferative retinopathy?

Dr. Haq: Proliferative retinopathy is usually treated with laser surgery. These laser treatments help to shrink the abnormal blood vessels. These treatments work better before the fragile new blood vessels have started to bleed. This is why it is imperative to have regular and fully dilated eye exams as directed by your doctor. Even if bleeding has started, diabetic laser treatments may still be possible, depending on the amount of bleeding. If the bleeding is severe, you may need a surgical procedure called a vitrectomy which is performed by a retina specialist.

What can be done to prevent diabetic eye problems?

Dr. Hong: You can reduce your risk of these eye problems by improving your blood sugar control. People with type 2 diabetes usually have signs of eye problems when diabetes is first diagnosed. Maintaining a healthy weight with a low calorie diet and regular exercise along with control of blood sugar, blood pressure, and blood cholesterol has an important role in slowing the progression of retinopathy and other eye problems.

Dr. Whitman: If you have diabetes, regular visits to Key-Whitman for checkups are important to avoid problems and vision loss. Thank you for allowing us to participate in your care.

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