What You Need to Know About Diabetic Eye Disease | Seattle Eye Center

Close-up of man's blue eyeThe health of your vision is paramount at any age. While there are many health issues that can improve over time with treatment or medication, vision loss is irreversible.

If you suffer from diabetes, there is a significant chance you could be at risk of developing a diabetic eye disease. There are several eye diseases that can affect your vision, such as glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic macular edema and diabetic retinopathy. All of which has the ability to cause blindness or vision loss.

According to the National Eye Institute, anywhere from 40%-45% of people who have diabetes develop some degree of an eye disease.

Diabetic retinopathy is the most common eye condition that leads to loss of vision for people with diabetes. It is also the leading cause of blindness in working-age adults. Diabetic macular edema is caused by diabetic retinopathy and causes swelling in the macula area of the eye.

What are the Risk factors for Diabetic Eye Disease?

People with types 1 and 2 diabetes are at the greatest risk to develop an eye condition. Hispanic/Latino, American Indian/Alaska Native, African Americans and senior citizens are also in a high-risk group. Smoking, being overweight and having high blood pressure or other unhealthy behaviors also increase your risk.

Common Symptoms of Diabetic Eye Disease

Generally speaking, there are no symptoms in the early stages of diabetic retinopathy. There won’t be any pain or associated warning signs. Your vision won’t change until the disease becomes very severe. At this point in time, you may experience blurry vision which results from when the retina of the eye swells from leaking fluid. Abnormal blood vessel growth on the surface of the retina could lead to blood on the eye, which in turn will cause vision loss.

Preventing Diabetic Eye Disease

The National Eye Institute created a guide called, “Stay on TRACK to Prevent Blindness from Diabetes.”

TRACK is an acronym for:

Take your medications as prescribed by your doctor.

Reach and maintain a healthy weight.

Add physical activity to your day.

Control your ABC’s—A1C, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.

Kick the smoking habit.

Following TRACK can help limit the damage diabetes can cause to your vision. It is also suggested that people with diabetes get a comprehensive dilated eye exam from an eye care center at least once a year. In this routine procedure, your Seattle eye care doctor will put drops in your eyes that dilate your pupils. This will allow him/her to inspect the back of your eyes for any key indicators of eye disease.

Taking your medications as prescribed by your Seattle eye doctor is also of utmost importance. There are currently several therapies available to people with diabetic retinopathy. Ultimately, it is up to you to help prevent vision loss by undergoing an annual eye exam, getting treatment in time and maintaining proper follow-up eye care.

Experienced & Qualified Eye Doctors in Seattle, Washington

If you suffer from Diabetes you should make an appointment with one of our qualified eye doctors. At Clearview Eye & Laser, we specialize in helping people with diabetes diagnose and treat eye conditions. We have two offices conveniently located in the West Seattle and Highline area. Give us a call at (206) 937-9600 or send us an email to make an appointment to see one of our eye care specialists.