Diabetes And How It Affects the Eyes

Diabetes is an ever growing health issue that is becoming more and more common in the USA. Diabetes is a very complex metabolic disorder in which one’s blood sugar is elevated above normal. Diabetes is treated with a combination of weight loss exercise, oral medications and insulin which is injected into the body. If the blood sugar is elevated chronically, the circulation through out the body may be affected. Diabetes can affect the eye by damaging the blood vessels of the retina. The retina is a thin layer of neural tissue in the back of the eye in which the image that one visualizes is focused on. Diabetes can cause the blood vessels of the retina to leak and hemorrhage. This known as diabetic retinopathy. There are two main types of diabetic retinopathy. Non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy or NPDR is when the weakened circulation of the retina causes swelling of the retina. This can lead to vision loss. If the weakened circulation of the retina becomes severe, the retina does not get enough oxygen. This situation somtimes causes the body to grow new blood vessels in response. The problem with these new blood vessels is that they are very prone to hemorrhaging. This can lead to severe vision loss or even blindness. This condition is known as proliferative diabetic retinopathy or PDR.

The good news is that there is treatment for diabetic retinopathy such as laser or medications that are injected into the eye. At North Shore Eye Care, with Long Island, New York offices located in Smithtown, Riverhead, Southampton, Deer Park, Southold, Hempstead, Garden City, and Holbrook, our doctors perform comprehensive, dilated eye exams and, offer their patients state of the art testing technology such as fundus photography, OCT, and fluoroscein angiography. These testing modalities help to manage diabetic retinopathy and decide when treatment is indicated. Fundus photography, for example, provides an image of the retina at a given point in time which can be compared to future retina exams while OCT provides a cross section image of the retina and its circulation on a microscopic level. Fluoroscein angiography, on the other hand, maps out the circulation of the retina showing where leaks and new vessel growth exists. All of these testing modalities help to decide if and when treatment of diabetic retinopathy is indicated. If you are a diabetic, please make an appointment today at North Shore Eye Care / Hampton Eye for a thorough eye exam to rule out diabetic retinopathy.

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