Diabetic Retinopathy Fort Myers
If you are diabetic, don’t wait for vision loss to occur. Diabetic retinopathy often has no symptoms but is responsible for thousands of new cases of blindness every year in the USA. The Elmquist Eye Group team of eye doctors in Fort Myers will provide you with individualized care and help prevent vision loss.
Elmquist Eye Group has been serving Southwest Florida for 25 years. E. Trevor Elmquist, DO, his partner, Kate Wagner, OD, and his associates, Nina Burt, OD, and Sarah Eccles-Brown, MD, provide a complete range of eye care services, including comprehensive eye exams and diagnosis and treatment of diabetic eye disease, cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, dry eyes, presbyopia, myopia, hyperopia and other eye conditions.
Diabetes and Your Eyes
Diabetes interferes with the body’s ability to use and store sugar. This can cause many health problems, including heart disease, stroke and kidney failure. High blood sugar can also damage the eyes and lead to blindness.
One common condition is called diabetic retinopathy. It affects the blood vessels in the retina, the sensitive tissue at the back of the eye that responds to light and usually affects both eyes. If you have diabetic retinopathy, you may not notice any symptoms or vision loss until severe damage has been done.
How is Diabetic Retinopathy Diagnosed?
Diabetic retinopathy is diagnosed with a comprehensive dilated eye exam. The doctor will place drops in your eyes so that he/she can see the entire inside of your eye. The drops enlarge your pupils and cause them to open wider (dilate). An examination through a non-dilated pupil is not acceptable because many areas of the retina cannot be visualized without pupil dilation.
The doctor will look for signs of any diabetic eye disease, such as macular edema, retinal bleeding or fluid leakage from blood vessels. Regular diabetic eye exams can help protect your sight and make sure that you are seeing your best.
Can Diabetic Retinopathy Be Treated?
There is no cure for diabetic retinopathy, and vision that is lost to the disease may not be reversible. There are effective treatments that may slow the vision loss, however, such as laser treatments.
The first stage of diabetic retinopathy is called nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy, or NPDR. Damaged retinal blood vessels begin to leak fluid and blood into the eye and may cause macular edema (swelling). When appropriate, laser treatment may slow the leakage of fluid and prevent further vision loss.
The more severe stage of diabetic retinopathy is called proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR). During this stage, abnormal fragile blood vessels begin to grow inside the retina. They may cause bleeding, glaucoma, and/or retinal detachment, as well as permanent loss of vision. Laser treatment can be done to seal off leaking blood vessels and destroy new blood vessel growth.
The skilled doctors at Elmquist Eye Group in Fort Myers are highly qualified to examine your eyes and check for problems related to diabetes, including diabetic retinopathy. Don’t wait until you can’t see well enough to complete everyday tasks. Call us today at (239) 936-2020 to schedule an exam and protect your good vision.