DIABETIC EYE CARE MANAGEMENT IN FORT COLLINS
Our team of eye doctors in Fort Collins work with you to keep your vision healthy and prevent diabetic eye disease. We screen regularly for diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, and other related conditions.
Of course, we always hope to find that your vision is healthy! If we do find evidence of diabetic eye disease, you’ll be in good hands, though. Our team of optometrists have experience treating diabetic eye disease, including diabetic macular edema and diabetic retinopathy. We can walk you through next steps and help ensure you receive high-quality care to prevent vision loss.
Protecting your vision
Your vision is a precious thing. Here in our office, we take the care of your eyesight seriously. We’re committed to giving you the best possible vision care so so that you can continue to do and see the things you treasure most in life clearly. By coming in regularly for your eye exam and seeing our friendly and skilled eye doctors, you’ll be helping to safeguard your sight.
Diabetic Eye Care Management: 6 Steps to Prevent Diabetic Eye Disease
Diabetic eye care is a hugely important piece of vision health and preventing vision loss. In fact, according to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes is the top cause of lost vision for people who are between 18 and 64 years old. However, this type of vision loss is also preventable in many most cases.
The key? Early detection. That’s why our Fort Collins eyecare and optometry office prioritizes diabetic eye care management and screening: to prevent diabetic eye disease and catch it early if it occurs. By doing so, we can help keep you seeing clearly for years and years to come.
How does diabetes cause vision loss?
One of the most common complications from diabetes is diabetic retinopathy. This is when high blood sugar levels cause damaged blood vessels in the retina. Early on, these vessels can weaken or leak and cause problems with your vision. Diabetic retinopathy can also advance and lead to macular edema, when the macula swells, causing vision distortions or even blindness.
According to the CDC, diabetic macular edema is the most common cause of blindness for people who have diabetic retinopathy. About half of people with diabetic retinopathy will go on to develop diabetic macular edema, which is why early detection is key.
While these figures are daunting, there are steps everyone can take to help prevent diabetic eye disease and vision loss. We’re going to look at what you can do to lower your risk for diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, and other diabetic eye diseases.
Six steps for preventing diabetic eye disease
What do you need to know about diabetic eye diseases and how to prevent diabetic eye disease? We’re rounding up six practical steps that can help protect your eyes and keep your vision healthy.
1. Recognize the risk.
The first step is admitting you could, indeed, have a problem. It can be tempting to assume that if you don’t have diabetes (or don’t know that you don’t have diabetes), you’re not at risk for diabetic vision loss.
Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Diabetic retinopathy can occur with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, as well as with gestational diabetes (which is diabetes that can occur during pregnancy). The first symptoms of diabetes can be easy to miss. We find that people often go years without realizing that they have diabetes; all the while, the damage grows worse. By the time they find out they have diabetes or begin to experience blurry vision or other symptoms, vision loss may already have occurred.
Of course, if you are aware that you have diabetes, that’s even more reason to stay vigilant about your eye care and vision health. But everyone should take practical steps to protect their eyesight.
2. Schedule your regular eye exam.
During your eye exam, your eye doctor will screen you for problems including diabetic retinopathy, or damage to blood vessels in the eye, as well as for other symptoms such as cataracts and glaucoma.
Coming in for your yearly appointment is hugely important because the screening can detect if the vessels in your eyes are becoming damaged before it begins to cause symptoms or lead to permanent vision loss.
3. Have your dilated eye exam done regularly.
A dilated eye exam is one of the best tools we as eye care professionals have to examine your eyes. When our eye doctors dilate your eyes, they are able to examine your retinas, which are at the back of your eyes. That’s because when your eyes are dilated, they allow more light to enter the eye, illuminating areas that would otherwise be too dark to see, such as the tiny blood vessels in your retinas.
Catch problems early to prevent further damage that can lead to vision loss. Here at our Fort Collins optometry office, we can advise you on the right dilated eye exam frequency for you.
4. Watch for the symptoms.
While your regular eye exam can catch symptoms early, you should also schedule an appointment with an eye doctor immediately if you notice any of the following symptoms. These can be signs that the blood vessels in your eyes are being damaged, or they may be due to another underlying cause. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, pay attention for:
- Blind spots
- Blurry vision
- Wavy vision
- Distortions in what you look at
- Trouble reading
- Trouble doing detailed work that requires you to look at something close up
- Vision that changes frequently
- Dark areas in your vision
- Spots of vision loss
- Difficulty seeing color
- ‘Floaters,’ which are spots or dark strings in your vision
- Flashes, or recurring flashing light in your vision
These symptoms, as well as any other sudden vision changes, are good reason to see an eye care professional. They could be symptoms of diabetic eye disease or another condition. Of course, we hope it just means you need your glasses or contact prescription adjusted; however, as we’ll discuss next, it’s best to check.
5. Act quickly if you notice symptoms.
If you’re experiencing even one of these symptoms, including blurry vision, give us a call. Our Fort Collins optometrists will be able to examine your eyes, investigate the cause of your symptoms, and take steps to prevent vision loss.
Waiting and hoping things will go away on their own can be tempting, but your vision is important. A proactive approach to caring for your vision will help you maintain your healthy eyesight and prevent diabetic eye disease.
What if you think you may be experiencing symptoms, but aren’t completely sure? In our experience, we find it’s always worth checking things out. Many of these symptoms can come and go, including blurry vision and ‘floaters’ in your eyesight, leading you to question whether there’s really a problem or if you just had something in your eye. However, taking a look and ensuring everything is healthy is a better idea than walking around with a problem that could be growing worse.
If there’s a vision problem to catch, it’s better to catch it early; if not, you can rest easy knowing you’ve had everything checked out. Our Fort Collins optometry office is happy to get you in to check things over and screen for any potential issues.
6. Take care of your overall health.
In addition to diabetes and the high blood sugar levels that can accompany the condition, other risk factors for diabetic vision loss include high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. Our bodies’ systems are connected in so many ways. Staying on top of any health conditions can help prevent other issues, including diabetic eye diseases, from developing. High blood pressure and cholesterol levels are especially important to pay attention to.
If you have diabetes, your doctor can advise you on ways to control your blood sugar and maintain a healthy diabetic lifestyle. If you control your blood sugar levels, there is less of a chance of high blood sugar harming your retinas. We can also help advise you on ways to protect your eyesight and prevent vision loss; if you have diabetes, working closely with your eye doctor is hugely important.
Another thing you can do to help prevent diabetic retinopathy? If you smoke, quit. Smoking is a major risk factor for diabetic retinopathy and other conditions. Of course, if you smoke, you’ve likely heard many reasons to quit the habit. However, if you’re also diabetic, the negative health effects can combine quickly. Getting support from your doctor can help make quitting smoking more manageable.
Please note: None of the above should be considered medical advice. If you’re having any concerns about your vision, please reach out to us immediately or see your primary care provider.