Consult Our Expert for Diabetic Eye Disease
Almost five and a half million people in the U.S. suffer from diabetic retinopathy. The condition is widespread and responsible for creating 8,000 new cases of vision loss and blindness every year, especially in the age group between 24 and 74. To prevent this number from increasing, our Cornea Consultants in Nashville, TN, eye experts regularly recommend eye exams specific for signs of diabetes. These recommendations are made through an ophthalmologist's dilated eye exam and diabetic eye care versus a simple observation exam.
Value of the Diabetic Eye Exam
Diabetic retinopathy occurs as the blood vessels within the eye and retina malfunction. The retina is the light-sensitive part of the eye’s functional design. Being positioned in the back of the inner eye, it captures imagery like a camera, recording what comes through the eye lens and transmitting that to the brain through the optic nerve. However, diabetes can cause the blood vessels in and around the retina to swell. As a result, they block up, start to leak fluid, and this damages the retina. Eventually, things degrade and restrict blood flow to the eye. Once this occurs, the eye’s function becomes permanently damaged.
Early forms of diabetic retinopathy have no noticeable symptoms. Aside from being seen by an eye doctor through a dilated eye exam, the condition is usually not noticed. It’s only when a person’s vision begins to degrade and eventually move into blindness that the full effect of diabetic retinopathy is realized.
Nature of Diabetic Eye Disease
Technically speaking, diabetic retinopathy develops in two forms: nonproliferative retinopathy and proliferative. The first form is the early version of the condition. Slight leakage occurs in the eye’s blood vessels, and continuous leakage leads to blockage. Severe blockage becomes macular edema, prominent when a person has full diabetes. Therefore, regular eye exams become critical to see how severe the leakage development happens and whether it can be stopped or healed.
The body tries to repair itself almost predictably. When vessels fail, it tries to grow new ones. Once this occurs inside the eye, the second stage of diabetic retinopathy occurs. This stage is known as proliferative diabetic retinopathy. It is severe and can be uncontrolled. The body is messy as it tries to repair itself, and new blood vessels can start to happen all over the eye, including the retina or optic nerve. These errant vessels create more leakage and wear, creating scar tissue. The vicious cycle eventually destroys the ability of the inner eye.
Diabetic Eye Care in Nashville, TN
Our ophthalmologist team at Cornea Consultants of Nashville, TN, can provide patients with a regular diabetic eye exam. We are specifically trained to proactively look for diabetic retinopathy, including both stages of the condition. Call us at (615) 320-7200 to schedule an appointment. It’s never too early to start checking and preventing further degradation of your eyes and vision.