Calling all Diabetics

It is very important for diabetics to have a yearly eye exam, and in some cases, even more frequently than that. When you are first diagnosed with diabetes, we want to establish a baseline so we can better track any changes in your eyes over time. That may include retinal photography; something that may not have been included in past eye exams.

Vision deteriorates when a diabetic’s blood glucose, often called blood sugar, gets high. If it is controlled quickly, then the vision will usually return. If the glucose stays high, it can damage the tiny blood vessels in the back of the eye. Also new, weak blood vessels may begin to grow and bleed, therefore decreasing vision.

One of the most common complications of diabetes is an eye condition called diabetic retinopathy. In the early stage…and most treatable stage…symptoms are mild and sometimes even imperceptible. That is why we always dilate eyes so that we can take a good look at the retina and diagnose and treat problems early.

We also ask that diabetic patients monitor their own vision and report back any unusual symptoms such as flashing lights and/or missing vision. This could be a sign of diabetic-related vision problems.

Besides yearly eye exams, we also encourage our diabetics to maintain healthy sugar levels as well as weight. Other things to keep an eye on…..Keep your blood pressure under control, and of course, quit smoking, if you smoke.

With early detection and treatment, most diabetics can maintain good vision for life. If you need a diabetic exam, just click here or call 1-866-865-2020.

Blindness – a Major Fear


<img alt= "blindness would inhibit bikers taking an early morning ride"

Blindness causing fear of losing the active lifestyle that you now enjoy.

Blindness – Third Biggest Fear

A Prevent Blindness America Survey found that blindness ranked third as a major fear. Number 1 and 2 were cancer and heart disease. Of course, there are ways to prevent vision loss. The best way is to have a yearly comprehensive dilated eye exam. Being proactive always has positive benefits on your health and your eye health.

Common Causes of Blindness

Cataracts are the leading cause of preventable blindness worldwide. Cataract surgery is a very common surgery in the United States, but in less developed countries, people often go blind. This is due to the inaccessibility of eyecare. But even here in the US, we find that since cataracts are slow growing and they usually affect the vision in such a gradual way. Often people are unaware they have them and don’t realize they have such poor vision.

Diabetic retinopathy is another common cause of blindness in people under age 65. Diabetes affects your entire body, including your eyes. According to The American Academy of Ophthalmology, diabetics are 25 times more likely to lose vision than those without this disease. Diabetic retinopathy is the most common complication of diabetes. The longer you have diabetes, the more likely it is that you’ll develop diabetic retinopathy.Many patients with this condition are asymptomatic at its most treatable stage, so diabetics are strongly advised to have routine yearly comprehensive dilated eye examinations.

Another cause of vision loss is glaucoma. Half of all people with glaucoma risk permanent damage because they are unaware that they have it. A comprehensive dilated eye exam is the only way to determine whether these problems are present so appropriate treatment can be initiated.

As you can see, serious and sight-threatening eye diseases do not always present symptoms, but they can be diagnosed during a eye exam. Often treatment can be given before damage occurs. Vision is your most valued of all senses, for everyday activities and even your safety. An eye exam should be part of your yearly schedule. It could save your sight!

Click here or call 1-866-865-2020 for a comprehensive eye exam with one of our Board Certified Physicians.

Diabetes and Eyes

We are all different

Unique Eyes

Diabetes affects your entire body, including your eyes.

According to The American Academy of Ophthalmology, diabetics are 25 times more likely to lose vision than those without this disease. The most common complication of diabetes is diabetic retinopathy, and the longer you have diabetes, the more likely it is that you’ll develop diabetic retinopathy.

High blood sugar levels, as associated with diabetes, often affect blood vessels in the retina of the eye, causing diabetic retinopathy. There are 2 stages of classifications of diabetic retinopathy: non-proliferative or proliferative.

Non-proliferative retinopathy, sometimes known as background diabetic retinopathy, is the most common form of the disease. This condition is first diagnosed when small retinal blood vessels start to swell. As the disease progresses, these blood vessels break and leak blood.

Proliferative retinopathy is the more advanced stage of diabetic retinopathy. As the condition progresses, more and more blood vessels are blocked. Sensing the need for new blood vessels to supply nourishment, new blood vessels grow, but they are frail and abnormal, often hemorrhaging and scarring. Patients with this type of diabetic retinopathy can experience severe vision loss, and even blindness.

At both the early and advanced stage, fluid can leak into the macula, the center of the retina that allows you to see fine detail. Known as macula edema, it is another common cause of vision loss in diabetics.

It is worth noting that smoking does accelerate the damaging effect that diabetes has on the retina. Several other influencing factors include your genes, your blood pressure levels, how long you have had diabetes and of course, your blood sugar level.

In the early and most treatable stages of diabetic retinopathy, there are usually no visual symptoms or pain. In fact, many times the disease can even progress to an advanced stage without your noticing the gradual change in your vision.

Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy may include:

Abnormal patterns in the field of vision
Dark streaks in your vision
Sudden onset of decreased vision
Distorted central vision
Floaters
Red film that blocks vision
Blind spots
Poor night vision
Items may have a blue-yellow color tone, interfering with color perception

We strongly recommend that all diabetics have yearly comprehensive medical eye exams. Your eye doctor will dilate your eyes and check your retina, blood vessels and optic nerves for changes. We may also order a fluorescein angiography to track and photograph dye as it flows through the retina to look for leaking blood vessels.

We also commonly perform an Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) to assess fluid accumulation (macular edema) in the retina of diabetics. The OCT can show areas of retinal thickening and is often a useful tool in assessing a patient’s response to a treatment.

Treatment

The most important tool for treating diabetic retinopathy is good management of the underlying diabetic condition. Nevertheless, once diabetic retinopathy has presented itself, there are several methods of treatment. Lasers are the mainstay; often used to treat the early stages of diabetic retinopathy by sealing leaking blood vessels. More advanced cases may require a vitrectomy, a surgical procedure needed when the vitreous, the gel in the eye, contains a great amount of blood.

The optimal time for treatment is before the patient experiences visual symptoms so early detection and treatment is the best protection against significant vision loss. Diabetic retinopathy can progress into its advanced stages with no pain, no recognizable vision loss. That’s the reason it is so important for all diabetics to get a yearly comprehensive medical eye examination.

Please take time to educate yourself, and any loved ones with diabetes, on how to preserve their vision.

If you are diabetic and would like to schedule an appointment for a comprehensive medical exam at The Eye Associates, please call 1-866-865-2020.

DIABETICS – Preventing Eye Disease

Kick the smoking habit!

Diabetics have it hard enough without having to live with permanent vision loss.

The NUMBER 1 way for diabetics to prevent vision loss is to have an dilated eye exam EVERY YEAR. During the eye exam, your eye doctor will be looking at your retina for early signs of diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is a complication from diabetes. Leaking blood vessels, retinal swelling and deposits on the retina are all early signs of eye problems related to diabetes. Remember early detection is the key to keeping your eye healthy for a lifetime.

OTHER FACTORS THAT DIABETICS CAN CONTROL:

  1. Know your ABCs…A1C (blood glucose), BP (blood pressure)  and cholesterol

2) Always take your medication as prescribed by your doctor. Don’t try to out-think your doctors.

3) Keep your blood sugar levels under tight control by testing yourself several times a day.

2) Get your blood pressure under control. High blood pressure can contribute to damaging blood vessels.

3) QUIT SMOKING. This should probably #1 on the list of things to do to keep your eyes healthy, whether you are a diabetic or not.

4) Maintain a healthy diet full of colorful vegetables.

5) Exercise regularly.

6) Maintain a healthy weight.

7) Follow-up with PCP regularly

Click here to request an appointment at The Eye Associates or call 1-866-865-2020.

8 Warning Signs of Serious Eye Problems



Early detection is key to saving sight.

8 Warning Signs of Serious Eye Problems

It is important to catch serious eye problems early in order to preserve vision. Your sight is one of your most precious senses. Maintaining healthy eyes should be a priority.  How do you know if an eye problem is the start of something serious? We hope this guide helps you identify problems that can’t wait.

If you experience any of the following symptoms of a serious eye problem, call your eye doctor immediately.
1) A sudden decrease in vision in one eye.
This could indicate a problem with the retina; perhaps a macular hole. The chance of this happening increases as we age, and women are at higher risk than men.

2) A flood of spots, floaters or debris in the eye or a dark curtain across your field of vision.
Most floaters are benign, but if you experience a sudden onset, it could indicate a retina problem, such as a tear or retina detachment. If it is a retinal detachment, it needs to be treated immediately. If left untreated, vision loss can be permanent.

3) A gradual loss of central vision and distortions when looking at straight lines.
Macular Degeneration is the leading cause of blindness among older Americans, with central vision loss as a common symptom. Dry Macular Degeneration can turn into Wet Macular Degeneration overnight. That is why every senior should test their eyes daily with an Amsler Grid. It is important to do the test one eye at a time. Click the following link to print out your FREE Amsler Grid.

4) Loss of peripheral vision.
This symptom is hard to notice and could mean that you are developing glaucoma. The loss happens so slowly that many times it is not noticed until damage is done.

5) A sudden onset of eye pain, nausea, vomiting, and redness.
These symptoms could indicate an attack of narrow-angle glaucoma that can permanently damage your optic nerve and vision.

6) Double vision or ‘ghost like’ images.
Double vision can be related to many eye problems, and even other health conditions such as strokes. We recommend that you take immediate action and see a doctor.

7) Scratchy, irritated, watery eyes.
Frequently these symptoms indicate Dry Eye Disease. There is no cure for it but there are many treatments. If left untreated, loss of vision and serious eye problems could occur in extreme cases.

8) If you are diabetic and have blind spots, accompanied by floaters and blurred vision.
This could definitely indicate the onset of diabetic retinopathy. Daily use of  an Amsler Grid is recommended for this as well.

Another common condition that is not an emergency or serious eye problem: Cataracts
‘Halos’  around lights and cloudy, blurry vision.
Cataracts could be the cause here. Luckily cataract surgery is quite commonplace these days and can quickly return good vision.

Saving sight is our most important mission at The Eye Associates!  Should you or someone you know experience one of the symptoms serious eye problems above and vision loss, call immediately 1-866-865-2020. After business hours, our answering service will contact the doctor-on-call for emergencies.