Whats The Treatment For Diabetic Retinopathy And Dme
In the early stages of diabetic retinopathy, your eye doctor will probably just keep track of how your eyes are doing. Some people with diabetic retinopathy may need a comprehensive dilated eye exam as often as every 2 to 4 months.
In later stages, its important to start treatment right away especially if you have changes in your vision. While it wont undo any damage to your vision, treatment can stop your vision from getting worse. Its also important to take steps to control your diabetes, blood pressure, and cholesterol.
Injections. Medicines called anti-VEGF drugs can slow down or reverse diabetic retinopathy. Other medicines, called corticosteroids, can also help.
Eye Exam Assistance Programs
If you have diabetes and cannot afford an eye exam, there are programs available to help you obtain the eye care you need. Examples include:
VISION USA. Administered by the Optometry Cares The AOA Foundation, this program provides free eye exams to uninsured, low-income workers and their families. For more information about VISION USA, visit the AOA Foundation website.
EyeCare America. This public service program of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology provides free eye exams for qualifying seniors. Eligible individuals receive a comprehensive medical eye exam and up to one year of care for any disease diagnosed during the initial exam at no out-of-pocket cost. To determine if you or a senior family member or friend qualify for this program, visit the EyeCare America website.
Lions Clubs International. This organization provides financial assistance to individuals for eye care through its local clubs. You can find a local Lions Club by using the club locator feature on the organization’s website.
What Increases Your Risk
Your risk for diabetic retinopathy depends largely on two things: how long you have had diabetes and whether or not you have kept good control of your blood sugar.
You can control some risk factors, which are things that may increase your risk for diabetic retinopathy and its complications. Risk factors that you can control include:
If you have type 2 diabetes and use the medicine rosiglitazone to treat your diabetes, you may have a higher risk for problems with the center of the retina . The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the makers of the drug have warned that taking this medicine could cause swelling in the macula, which is called macular edema.
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What Is A Subconjunctival Hemorrhage
A subconjunctival hemorrhage is a bright red spot on the white of your eye . It’s caused by a popped blood vessel under the thin, clear tissue that covers the sclera. A subconjunctival hemorrhage can cause a small red spot on your eye or it can cover the entire sclera, causing a dramatic red, bloody eye.
Though it may look scary, a subconjunctival hemorrhage is harmless and typically goes away without treatment within a week or two.
A subconjunctival hemorrhage is blood on the front of the eye. Don’t confuse it with blood in the front of the eye. Blood in the eye is a serious condition called a hyphema. Unlike a subconjunctival hemorrhage, a hyphema requires immediate attention from an eye doctor.
Diabetic Eye Disease: How To Spot The Signs Early
About 30.3 million adults in the U.S. havediabetes, according to the Centers for DiseaseControl , and 90% of them have Type 2 diabetes their bodies don’thandle insulin well and can’t maintain normal blood sugar levels.
What’s more, as many as one in fourworking-age adults have Type 2diabetes, but they don’t know it. So, you can imagine their surprise when theysee me, an ophthalmologist, for blurred vision or eye floaters, and we handthem a referral to get checked for diabetes.
Patients with Type 2 diabetes are at increasedrisk for diabetic eye disease, agroup of diabetes-related eye conditions such as diabetic retinopathy anddiabetic macular edema . Approximately one third of my working-agepatients have diabetic eye damage, and diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause ofblindness in this age group.
Left untreated, diabetic eye diseases cancause permanent vision damage and even blindness.
It’s important to know the symptoms even ifyou haven’t been diagnosed with diabetes.
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What Causes Diabetic Retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy is caused by high blood sugar due to diabetes. Over time, having too much sugar in your blood can damage your retina the part of your eye that detects light and sends signals to your brain through a nerve in the back of your eye .
Diabetes damages blood vessels all over the body. The damage to your eyes starts when sugar blocks the tiny blood vessels that go to your retina, causing them to leak fluid or bleed. To make up for these blocked blood vessels, your eyes then grow new blood vessels that dont work well. These new blood vessels can leak or bleed easily.
How Does Diabetes Cause Diabetic Retinopathy
Diabetes mellitus causes abnormal changes in the blood sugar that your body ordinarily converts into energy to fuel different bodily functions.
Uncontrolled diabetes allows unusually high levels of blood sugar to accumulate in blood vessels, causing damage that hampers or alters blood flow to your bodys organs including your eyes.
Diabetes generally is classified as two types:
Type 1 diabetes: Insulin is a natural hormone that helps regulate the levels of blood sugar needed to help feed your body. When you are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, you are considered insulin-dependent because you will need injections or other medications to supply the insulin your body is unable to produce on its own. When you dont produce enough of your own insulin, your blood sugar is unregulated and levels are too high.
Type 2 diabetes: When you are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, you are generally considered non-insulin-dependent or insulin-resistant. With this type of diabetes, you produce enough insulin but your body is unable to make proper use of it. Your body then compensates by producing even more insulin, which can cause an accompanying abnormal increase in blood sugar levels.
With both types of diabetes, abnormal spikes in blood sugar increase your risk of diabetic retinopathy.
Eye damage occurs when chronically high amounts of blood sugar begin to clog or damage blood vessels within the eyes retina, which contains light-sensitive cells necessary for good vision.
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How Retinopathy Is Treated
If a doctor diagnoses you with retinopathy at your diabetic eye exam, all is not lost! Tremendous strides have been made in the treatment of diabetic retinopathy. These treatments can prevent blindness in most people, but as always, the earlier diabetic retinopathy is diagnosed, the better your chances will be.
How Will My Eye Doctor Check For Diabetic Retinopathy
Eye doctors can check for diabetic retinopathy as part of a dilated eye exam. The exam is simple and painless your doctor will give you some eye drops to dilate your pupil and then check your eyes for diabetic retinopathy and other eye problems.
If you have diabetes, its very important to get regular eye exams. If you do develop diabetic retinopathy, early treatment can stop the damage and prevent blindness.
If your eye doctor thinks you may have severe diabetic retinopathy or DME, they may do a test called a fluorescein angiogram. This test lets the doctor see pictures of the blood vessels in your retina.
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Darker Area Of Skin That Feels Like Velvet
A dark patch of velvety skin on the back of your neck, armpit, groin, or elsewhere could mean that you have too much insulin in your blood. This is often a sign of prediabetes.The medical name for this skin condition is acanthosis nigricans.
Often causing darker skin in the creases of the neck, AN may be the first sign that someone has diabetes.
- Get tested for diabetes
Can Diabetic Retinopathy Be Prevented
You can lower your chance of damaging small blood vessels in the eye by keeping your blood sugar levels and blood pressure levels within a target range. If you smoke, quit. All of this reduces the risk of damage to the retina. It can also help slow down how quickly your retinopathy gets worse and can prevent future vision loss.
If you have a dilated eye exam regularly, you and your doctor can find diabetic retinopathy before it has a chance to get worse. For most people, this will mean an eye exam every year. Finding retinopathy early gives you a better chance of avoiding vision loss and blindness.
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Extremely Dry Itchy Skin
Dry, itchy skin
If you have diabetes, youre more likely to have dry skin. High blood sugar can cause this. If you have a skin infection or poor circulation, these could also contribute to dry, itchy skin.
- Tell your doctor about your extremely dry skin. Gaining better control of diabetes can reduce dryness.
- If you continue to have dry skin after you gain better control of your diabetes, a dermatologist can help.
Reduce Your Risk Of Diabetic Retinopathy
You can reduce your risk of developing diabetic retinopathy, or help prevent it getting worse, by:
- controlling your blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels
- taking your diabetes medicine as prescribed
- attending all your screening appointments
- getting medical advice quickly if you notice any changes to your vision
Read more about how to prevent diabetic retinopathy.
Diabetic Eye Disease Prevention
The best way to prevent diabetes-related eye problems is to manage your blood sugar levels, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.Ways you can help prevent eye problems caused by diabetes include:
- Control your blood sugar. Your doctor can provide direction on how to keep your blood sugar normal and avoid fluctuations that can lead to diabetic eye diseases. In addition to getting your eyes checked, its also very important to keep the blood sugars under control, says Cai. This is not only good for you overall, but also good for your eyes.
- Lower your blood pressure and cholesterol. Get recommendations from your doctor on ways you can combat high blood pressure and cholesterol, because these can worsen diabetic eye disease.
- Stop smoking. Smoking can cause further damage to your blood vessels, including the ones in your eyes, so its very important to stop smoking.
- Avoid harmful rays. Protect yourself from the suns harmful ultraviolet rays by wearing sunglasses. Exposure to these rays can speed up the progression of cataracts.
Treatment Options For Diabetic Eye Disease
Your provider will work with you to develop an optimal treatment plan. Two of the most common strategies to manage diabetic eye disease include controlling your diabetes and medical management.
Control your diabetes
We typically recommend three key steps to control your diabetes:
During regular office visits, your ophthalmologist can administer medications directly into the eye. Anti-vascular endothelial growth factor therapy is a commonly used medication treatment to reduce retinal swelling and inhibit blood vessel growth in the retina.
Another option is corticosteroid medication, which can reduce inflammation caused by diabetic retinopathy.
To find out whether you or a loved one might benefit from a check-up with an ophthalmologist, call or request an appointment online.
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Diabetes And Eye Exams
Q: I have type 2 diabetes that is under control . Is it still necessary to have the dilated eye exam annually? M.G.
A: Yes! Your eye doctor is an important part of a medical team managing your diabetes.
Damage from diabetes usually shows up first in what are called the “end organs” of the body, meaning the fingers, toes, kidneys and eyes. They can suffer the most from a lack of oxygen caused by too much sugar in the blood.
And damage can happen even with tight glucose control. Retinal damage, particularly leaky blood vessels in the retina, can be treated to avoid major vision loss.
The eyes are the only body organs that have windows to see inside and find out what’s going on. A dilated eye exam can help pick up minor changes that can help your doctors know if your diabetes is stable or not. It’s truly a peek inside your body a small price to pay for good health! Dr. Dubow
Q: I have diabetes. How often should I be checked to make sure my eyes are okay? E.B., Pennsylvania
A: Diabetes is the number one cause of blindness in the United States. Although diabetics have elevated blood sugar levels, the real damage is done by lack of oxygen. Because the eyes have such tiny blood vessels and yet need a lot of blood , diabetes can cause a great deal of damage.
Diabetes also can cause leaking of blood vessels in the eyes, which leads to scarring and loss of vision.
There are other changes as well:
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Schedule an exam
When To Get An Eye Exam
You should get an eye exam once a year, unless your ophthalmologist or optometrist has suggested something different. The risk of vision loss can be greatly reduced with regular checks. Remember, you may not be aware of changes to your vision and many problems can be treated when caught early.
If you notice any of the following changes to your vision, go see an eye doctor immediately:
- blurred vision
- flashes of light in the field of vision
- sudden loss of vision
- blotches or spots in vision
Diabetic retinopathy can worsen in pregnancy, so if you have diabetes you should have a diabetic eye exam before getting pregnant and while pregnant.
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Causes Of Red Eyes In Your Dog
Several culprits could result in red eyes in dogs.
Your dog may experience seasonal allergies, which result in red eyes caused by the environment or, in some cases, brought on by diet.
The best way to tackle this is by tracking when a dog has a red-eye outbreak.
If it’s only during a specific part of the year, then simple dog eye drops like Nutri-Vet will help relieve eye redness in your dog.
If its a year-long or a food-related allergic reaction, it will take longer to figure out the culprit, and you will need to discuss this with a vet.
2. Cherry Eye
If you see a bulge of pink, usually near the corner of the eye closest to the dogs nose, this is likely a condition called Cherry Eye.
Dogs have a third eyelid that you cant normally see. This pops out in animals who have weak ligaments holding that lid in place.
Certain breeds have a propensity toward Cherry Eye, such as:
- Shih Tzus
The usual treatment for Cherry Eye in dogs is surgery on the third eyelid because the gland produces about half of your dog’s tear film.
Without this, your dog can move into the dry eye, which impairs a dogs vision over time.
Most dogs recover from Cherry Eye surgery within a few weeks.
3. Corneal Damage
Anything that damages a dog’s cornea can cause red eyes due to irritation. For example, if a dogs eye gets poked with some weed or scratched by a persnickety cat.
4. Dry Eyes
If it’s dry eyes, that’s causing redness.
6. In-Grown Eyelids
How To Prevent Subconjunctival Hemorrhages
Follow these tips to avoid a bloody eye from a popped blood vessel under the conjunctiva:
Avoid rubbing your eyes. If your eyes itch, see an eye doctor to determine the cause and possible treatments.
Wear contact lenses responsibly. Clean and disinfect your contacts as directed, and don’t overwear your lenses.
Stay healthy. Get plenty of exercise and rest and eat a healthful diet to avoid getting sick.
Control your allergies. See your physician or eye doctor to help prevent eye allergies and allergy-related coughing and sneezing.
Keep any blood disorders or health problems under control with routine health care visits.
Remember: Subconjunctival hemorrhages are harmless and usually go away within a week or two. But if you have a persistent bloody eye or frequent popped blood vessels on your eye, see an eye doctor.
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Causes & Risk Factors
Diabetic retinopathy results from the damage diabetes causes to the small blood vessels located in the retina. These damaged blood vessels can cause vision loss:
- Fluid can leak into the macula, the area of the retina responsible for clear central vision. Although small, the macula is the part of the retina that allows us to see colors and fine detail. The fluid causes the macula to swell, resulting in blurred vision.
- In an attempt to improve blood circulation in the retina, new blood vessels may form on its surface. These fragile, abnormal blood vessels can leak blood into the back of the eye and block vision.
Diabetic retinopathy is classified into two types.
How Do Health Problems From Diabetes Begin
If your diabetes is not well controlled, the sugar level in your blood goes up. This is called hyperglycemia . High blood sugar can cause damage to very small blood vessels in your body. Imagine what happens to sugar when it is left unwrapped overnight. It gets sticky. Now imagine how sugar sticks to your small blood vessels and makes it hard for blood to get to your organs. Damage to blood vessels occurs most often in the eyes, heart, nerves, feet, and kidneys. Lets look at how this damage happens.
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