Monday, July 28, 2008

Protect Your Eyes From Diabetic Retinopathy

By Ned D'Agostino

There are of course numerous complications resulting from diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy is one that directly effects your vision. It happens because the eye's retina is damaged because of the diabetes. So let's take a closer look, starting with an explanation of what the retina is.

Without getting into too much detail, you can think of the retina as a group of nerves in the back of your eyeball. They are like your eye's camera, giving your brain a look at what you are seeing. What retinopahty does is cause problems with this simple process.

The retina has a series of blood vessels. These blood vessels are sensitive and can be split. The result is that the fluid from those vessels will begin to drip into the compound of the eye. And that's where the problems start.

Most people will start to observe what appears to be an obstruction in their sight. Then scar tissue starts to occur around you eyeball and in it. Finally, the retina detaches or breaks away from where it should be sitting.

The problem with diabetics is that high blood sugar levels can trigger all the damage we just pointed out. But there's a bigger problem. Most people won't have any symptoms or notice any changes until the problem becomes severe. That means that by the time you notice a problem, it may be too late to do anything about it. Regular visits to the eye doctor are a must because he can discover the problem early on, and that makes correcting the problem much easier. Diabetics should go to the eye doctor at least once a year.

And between visits, always be on the lookout for symptoms or any changes in your vision. Things like black or white spots, called floaters, that appear without reason. Weak and blurry vision can also be a sign of diabetic retinopathy. Double vision too can be a sign. Even if these problems seem mild, they need to be taken seriously. And that means getting in touch with your eye doctor immediately.

Often times treatment is not necessary, but if it is, there are several treatments available. These treatments can reduce the amount of vision being lost. They include surgery, prescriptions medication and also laser treatments. Your doctor will discuss all your treatment options with you.

The biggest factor in a successful treatment is to catch diabetic retinopathy early. Make sure yearly visits to an eye doctor are scheduled, that way if treatment is necessary it can be started before the problem gets out of hand.

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