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Diabetic Retinopathy affects the retina. The retina consists of numerous small nerves and blood vessels that line the back area of the eye. When vision loss occurs because of diabetes, it is called diabetic retinopathy.
Our optometrist in Maple Ridge wants to help you avoid diabetic retinopathy and permanent vision loss. Maintaining a consistently high blood sugar causes diabetic retinopathy, and failure to bring blood sugar levels under control results in progressive loss of vision. It can even lead to blindness. Diabetic retinopathy causes the tiny blood vessels in the back of the eye to weaken. Over time, those blood vessels start to leak, resulting in blurry vision.
The body tries to heal the broken blood vessels by creating new blood vessels and scar tissue. Unfortunately, the new blood vessels created by the body are weaker than the original blood vessels and are prone to breaking open and leaking at any time. They can even rupture while the individual is asleep.
The scar tissue that forms can push the retina away from the eye, causing retinal detachment and further vision loss. Individuals with diabetic retinopathy can even experience swelling of the macula, which is located in the middle of the retina.
All of these aspects of diabetic retinopathy can lead to deteriorating vision and even blindness, and most people do not notice a change in their vision until the symptoms are so far progressed that there are very few treatment options.
The comprehensive eye exams performed by our eye doctor can help catch diabetic retinopathy early. We test for visual acuity, using a standard eye chart. This helps our optometrist determine if you need glasses or contacts. If you already wear glasses or contacts, we can determine if your vision has stayed the same or worsened since your last prescription.
Dilating the eyes helps our optometrist in Maple Ridge view the back of your eye to determine if you have any ruptured blood vessels, leakage or retinal detachment. We can also perform an optical coherence tomography, which takes images of the back of the eye, which we use to determine if you have any diseases of the retina.
Detecting diabetic retinopathy early means that there are treatments and things you can do to preserve your vision. The first step involves getting your blood sugars under control. When blood sugars are kept within normal ranges, the progression of diabetic retinopathy slows and can even stop.
To heal the abnormal blood vessels, our eye doctor may recommend a scatter laser treatment, which is designed to shrink blood vessels in the eye. A vitrectomy can be performed to remove blood that has pooled in the eye, and we can perform intraocular injections to stop the growth of abnormal blood vessels.
To schedule an examination with our eye doctor in Maple Ridge, call our office at 604-463-4469.