Diabetes is one of the leading causes of blindness for people under the age of 65 in Canada. Diabetes can affect the retina or blood vessels in the eyes; people with the condition are far more likely to develop cataracts and glaucoma at a younger age.
Many vision and eye health problems are unique to diabetics and can lead to permanent blindness if not treated.
If you have diabetes, it is important to have your eyes examined at least annually.
There are two types of diabetic retinopathy:
This occurs when the blood vessels which provide nourishment to the retina weaken; this can cause the blood vessels to leak, rupture and hemorrhage. Subsequently, the retina begins to swell, resulting in impaired vision.
As the nonproliferative retinopathy worsens, the blood vessels eventually become blocked or closed, causing parts of the retina to die. New – but fragile – blood vessels grow in their place which are much more prone to leaking and hemorrhaging, furthering impairing vision to the point of potential blindness.
This condition is an additional side effect of diabetic retinopathy, whereby the swelling of the retina causes the macula to deteriorate resulting in blurred and impaired central vision.
It is important to note that there is no cure for diabetic retinopathy or diabetic macular edema at this time.
However, effective treatment comes by way of managing the diabetes and monitoring blood sugar levels to hinder the progression of retinopathy. More direct and focused treatment options include:
Our office is part of the Cranston Market Clinic and is just two minutes off of Deerfoot Trail. Vivid Eye Care is in the same plaza as the Sobey’s and Scotiabank.