Diagnosing & Treating Diabetic Eye Conditions in Lewiston, ME
At Family Eye Health and Contact Lens Center, we understand that your eye care regimen affects more than just your eye health. Regular eye exams help prevent vision loss and catch eye conditions early, but they also play a huge role in preventing and managing life-threatening diseases like diabetes. In fact, only eye doctors can diagnose the earliest warning signs of diabetes, because it shows up first at the back of the eyes. As the disease progresses, eye health risks include significant vision loss and even blindness.
We want to help you preserve your vision and your overall health. If you already have diabetes, that means managing the disease without losing your vision or any other abilities. Whether you’re living with diabetes or hoping to avoid a diagnosis altogether, make sure you schedule regular eye exams with our optometrist in Lewiston, ME. Here are some important facts to consider as you plan your next visit to our eye care center.
Common Diabetic Eye Conditions in Lewiston
Diabetes affects the whole body, but which eye conditions are actually linked to diabetes? While early diagnosis makes it easier to manage diabetic symptoms such as eye disease, even the early stages of diabetes can cause a few predictable changes to the eyes. These symptoms and conditions are more common among patients with diabetes, and sometimes they even lead to a diabetes diagnosis:
Diabetic Retinopathy – As blood sugar levels rise, blood vessels continue to grow on each retina. As these blood vessels grow and burst, the bleeding could cause anything from vision changes to retinal detachment.
Macular Edema – The macula is in the middle of each retina, where it’s responsible for interpreting the details of everything you see. Diabetic retinopathy may cause the macula to swell, risking vision impairment or blindness.
Cataracts – Cloudy lenses are much more common among people with diabetes, even if they haven’t reached the typical age for degeneration-related cataracts.
Glaucoma – Nearly twice as common for people with diabetes, glaucoma is actually a series of symptoms that are caused by increased eye pressure. Glaucoma may even damage the optic nerve, severing the connection between the eyes and the brain and effectively causing blindness.
How Our Lewiston Optometrist Detects Diabetic Eye Conditions
While permanent vision loss cannot be reversed, it can usually be prevented if diabetic eye disease is diagnosed and managed early enough. In order to detect the earliest traces of diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and other eye diseases, our Lewiston optometrist performs a series of comprehensives tests at least once a year. The main attraction is the dilated eye exam, which allows him to widen the pupil enough to examine the retina and optic nerve. This makes it easier to evaluate fluid pressure, detect abnormal growth or bleeding, and fully assess the condition of your eye’s most crucial components.
Treatment Options for Diabetic Eye Disease
Prevention and early diagnosis are ideal, but many patients are already living with diabetes and the symptoms of related eye disease. If our optometrist detects abnormal blood vessel growth, vision loss, cataracts, or any other symptoms of diabetes, he will immediately customize a treatment plan to help minimize your symptoms and prevent permanent damage. For example, certain injections and procedures make it possible to block a protein that stimulates blood vessel growth, counteracting the increased growth due to diabetes. We’ll also recommend more frequent dilated eye exams to keep track of your current condition and make sure the disease isn’t progressing further.
Diabetic eye disease is common, but vision loss isn’t inevitable. Call us at 207-782-9501 to schedule a dilated eye exam with our optometrist in Lewiston, ME.