When you find out you have diabetes, you should schedule an appointment with an eye doctor even if you don't wear glasses or have problems with your vision. Diabetes causes changes in your eyes that can lead to vision loss and blindness. Damage can occur without you being aware, but your eye doctor can detect the changes during an examination and suggest treatments, such as laser surgery, that slow vision loss and protect your eyes. Here's a look at how diabetes affects vision loss and how laser treatments can help.
How Diabetes Damages Your Eyes
Diabetes affects your blood vessels. It interferes with normal blood flow, so your body compensates by growing new vessels in your eyes. These new vessels are tiny and weak so they can rupture easily. When these vessels leak or rupture, it causes swelling and scar formation in your eyes that leads to vision loss.
What Treatments Help Diabetic Eye Disease
The best way to protect your eyes when you have diabetes is to keep your blood sugar in the normal range. You may need to do this through diet or medication, and your doctor may recommend you check your blood sugar at home daily to make sure you're keeping it in control. High sugar in your blood is what causes eye damage, so keeping the level as low as possible can prevent vision loss. Your eye doctor might prescribe other treatments as well, such as medications that target the growth of new vessels or medications that reduce swelling in your eyes. Laser treatments are also used to treat eye problems caused by diabetes.
Why Laser Treatments Are Effective
A laser can be used to seal off leaky vessels so swelling is less of a problem. The eye doctor can also remove damaged tissue with a laser so no circulation is wasted on it and is used to nourish healthy tissue instead. Abnormal blood vessels can be targeted with a laser to seal them off when necessary. A laser can also be used to remove scar tissue that contributes to vision loss. However, these treatments may not improve your vision; they are primarily used to prevent further vision loss and blindness.
Your eye doctor will monitor your vision on a regular basis when you have diabetes so problems can be detected early and treated. With proper treatment, you may save your sight. However, you don't want to rely on laser treatments or medication alone because damage can be ongoing if your blood sugar continues to be high. Addressing the root of the problem with the help of your diabetes doctor is important for maintaining the health of your eyes as well as other organ systems in your body.
For more information, reach out to a professional like Northwest Ophthalmology.