All Eye Centers of Florida locations will be closed for the holiday on Monday, September 7th.

All Eye Centers of Florida locations will be closed for the holiday on Monday, September 7th.

Are You at Risk for Diabetic
Eye Disease? 1 In 4 Don’t Know

The CDC estimates that 1 in 4 people have diabetes, but don’t know it. That’s a serious problem — especially when you take into account that more than 1 in 3 diabetics aged 40 or older show symptoms of diabetic eye disease, which can rob you of your vision well before you’ve even noticed a single symptom.

Our team at Eye Centers of Florida believes that when it comes to eye care, knowledge is power. Below, you can learn more about diabetic eye disease, why you should be concerned about it, and how we can help you stay on top of your eye health!

What is Diabetic Eye Disease?
SWFOA Annual Retreat and Conference

What is Diabetic Eye Disease?

Diabetic eye disease, or DED, is actually a blanket term that covers several different eye conditions that are caused by diabetes. These include:

  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Diabetic macular edema
  • Glaucoma
  • Cataracts

DED is often used synonymously with diabetic retinopathy or diabetic macular edema, but in reality, it actually encompasses these diseases. Put simply, if you have any eye disease caused by diabetes, you have DED.

Diabetic Eye Disease CausesDiabetic Eye Disease Causes Irreversible Vision Loss

The back of the eye is comprised of important — and delicate — structures. These include the retina, the macula, which is the point on the retina that controls central vision, and the optic nerve.

Most conditions that fall under DED directly, and permanently, damage these structures:

  • Diabetic retinopathy occurs when high blood sugar levels cause blood vessels in the retina to swell and leak, close off completely, or grow incorrectly
  • Diabetic macular edema, which usually results directly from diabetic retinopathy, is when burst blood vessels leak into the macula
  • Glaucoma describes when high pressure within the eye (intraocular pressure) presses on the optic nerve
  • Cataracts permanently cloud the eye’s lens, causing increasingly blurry vision; unlike the above conditions, however, cataracts can be “fixed” by replacing the lens during cataract surgery
SWFOA Retreat and Conference Attendees

Diabetic Eye Disease Causes Irreversible Vision Loss

The back of the eye is comprised of important — and delicate — structures. These include the retina, the macula, which is the point on the retina that controls central vision, and the optic nerve.

Most conditions that fall under DED directly, and permanently, damage these structures:

  • Diabetic retinopathy occurs when high blood sugar levels cause blood vessels in the retina to swell and leak, close off completely, or grow incorrectly
  • Diabetic macular edema, which usually results directly from diabetic retinopathy, is when burst blood vessels leak into the macula
  • Glaucoma describes when high pressure within the eye (intraocular pressure) presses on the optic nerve
  • Cataracts permanently cloud the eye’s lens, causing increasingly blurry vision; unlike the above conditions, however, cataracts can be “fixed” by replacing the lens during cataract surgery

How Diabetic Eye Disease Can Go Unseen
— Until It’s Too Late
For most DED conditions, there won’t be any symptoms until irreversible damage has already been done!

If you notice bouts of blurry or wavy vision that come and go, or an increasing number of “floaters” or “flashes” in your vision, this may indicate that retina damage from diabetic retinopathy or diabetic macular edema is taking place. Washed-out color vision, long-term blurry vision, and blind spots are usually permanent.

Glaucoma, meanwhile, is called “the sneak thief of sight,” and for good reason. Depending on the type of glaucoma you have, the earliest symptoms may be signs of irreversible vision loss.

Cataracts are the exception to this rule, as vision slowly becomes noticeably blurrier with time, and cataracts can be replaced with an intraocular lens (IOL). However, it’s also possible for the symptoms of cataracts to mask these other eye diseases, which may occur at the same time, meaning you may attribute certain issues to cataracts that are actually permanent damage to a different part of the eye.

Catch DED With an Expert-Run Eye Exam
at Eye Centers of Florida

You’re unlikely to notice symptoms of diabetic eye disease until it’s too late. The good news, though, is that comprehensive eye exams can catch DED very early in its development — even if you don’t know that you have diabetes — and allow your eye care team to begin treatment that slows or halts its progression!

At Eye Centers of Florida, our extremely experienced ophthalmologists and optometrists conduct comprehensive eye exams that use the latest technologies and methods to screen you for any hidden or subtle signs of DED. Our team of eye doctors and eye surgeons have worked with diabetic patients long enough to be able to tailor our treatment plans and vision solutions to your unique needs.

If you have any concerns about your eye health and/or want to stay a step ahead of DED, please schedule an appointment online or call Eye Centers of Florida at 888-393-2778 today!

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appointment today