Eye Matters
November 20, 2012

Diabetic retinopathy

Diabetic eye disease otherwise known as diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes mellitus. Risk factors for diabetic retinopathy include:

1. Age.

2. Duration of the disease — the longer one has diabetes, the greater the chance of developing diabetic retinopathy.

3. Smoking increases the risk of diabetic eye disease.

4. Alcohol can exacerbate the situation.{{more}}

5. Hypertension increases the risk of diabetic retinopathy, heart disease, stroke and kidney failure.

6. Poor blood sugar control influences the disease. Proper diet, medication and exercise are crucial for good control.

7. Pregnancy is a known risk factor for the development of diabetic retinopathy.

There are no symptoms in the early stages. Vision is usually good until the later stages. Vision then appears to be blurry or even totally blocked. Sometimes the situations may advance without anyone noticing. That’s why regular eye examinations are important.

It is usually recommended that one sees the eye doctor at least once a year. Sometimes, the first signs of diabetes show up in the eye and the eye doctor may be the first person to diagnose it. Early treatment of diabetes saves sight.

If you have diabetic retinopathy your doctor may want you to visit more often. A complete dilated eye examination is done. The eye doctor uses drops to widen the pupil of the eye, so as to get a closer look at the retina. This examination is not necessarily part of an eye examination for glasses or contact lenses.

Dr Kenneth Onu is a resident Consultant Ophthalmologist at the Beachmont Eye Institute/Eyes R Us Send questions to: Beachmont@gmail.com
Tel: 784 456-1210