Diabetes is a terrible illness, and its effects can also extend to your vision. All diabetics are at risk of developing the four “diabetic eye diseases”: cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema (DME).
As with many eye conditions, the diabetic eye diseases tend not to show any symptoms until they are quite far along, and possibly only once your vision has been impaired. In the case of diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma, any vision lost cannot be restored, so it is crucially important that if you have diabetes, you visit our practice every 12 months for an exam.
While your symptoms may not show until your eyesight is already compromised, our advanced imaging equipment and expert doctors can locate tell-tale signs very early on; sometimes months or even years before your symptoms would normally develop.
Our team of optometrists and eye care professionals are always excited about meeting new patients, so don’t hesitate to contact us and arrange a visit.
Our comprehensive eye exams leave no stone unturned. We will examine your visual acuity and search for any tell-tale signs of eye disease; using our advanced imaging equipment, we can spot diseases in their infancy and therefore take a proactive approach to managing future symptoms.
For diabetic eye exams, we will also perform tests under dilation. This means you will receive special eye drops which dilate your pupils. For us, this means we can see more clearly into your eye and have an improved chance of noticing any abnormalities. For you, this means some light sensitivity for a few hours, so you might want to arrange to get home without driving yourself.
Diabetic retinopathy is a disease unique to diabetics, which manifests itself in two different stages: nonproliferative and proliferative.
Nonproliferative can be categorized as mild, moderate or severe. The capillaries of your retina are weakening and, over time, they will leak blood and other fluids into the eye, which can threaten vision.
Over time, the ability of your blood vessels to transmit blood to the eye become limited, causing new, weaker blood vessels to grow in their place. This is known as proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR), a more severe form of the disease. These blood vessels’ walls are too weak and can rupture and die, causing more fluids to leak into the eye. As new blood vessels die off, scar tissue can form in the eye. This scar tissue can cause retinal detachment, which can lead to permanent and total blindness.
This is a disease which cascades from diabetic retinopathy, wherein the swollen blood vessels in the eye can leak fluid into the retina. More specifically, to the macula, which allows sharp central vision. This causes vision to become hazy or otherwise impaired.
These are not exclusively diabetes-related illness, however diabetics face a higher-than-average chance of developing them. In both cases the symptoms are virtually non-existent before the disease progresses, so annual eye exams are pivotal in detecting them early.
There is currently no cure for diabetic retinopathy. However, once a diagnosis is made, we can recommend dietary changes which can help limit disease progression.
For advanced diabetic retinopathy and DME, there are certain laser and anti-VEGF (drug) treatments available to help manage the disease and limit vision loss.
585 Springbank Drive
London, ON, Canada
Phone: (519) 472-0210
Monday - Thursday: 8am - 7pm