Diabetes & Hypertension
Diabetic Eye Care
Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness. There are different types of diabetes:
Chronically high blood sugars can lead to complications in the eye such as diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema. Diabetic retinopathy involves changes to the retinal blood vessels that can cause them to bleed or leak fluid, distorting vision.
Diabetic macular edema is often a consequence of diabetic retinopathy that causes swelling in the area of the retina called the macula, decreasing the central focus of vision for reading and driving. Diabetes also increases risk for cataract development at an earlier age and for glaucoma.
Overall risk of diabetic eye disease increases the longer a person has diabetes, for smokers, and for those with uncontrolled blood pressure and cholesterol. Dilated eye exams are recommended at least once a year because diabetic retinopathy often goes unnoticed until vision loss occurs.
Early detection, timely treatment, and appropriate follow-up care of diabetic eye disease can protect against permanent vision loss.
Hypertension Eye Care
Hypertension is a common condition that when uncontrolled will increase risk for heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, and eye disease.
Hypertensive retinopathy is the damage to retinal blood vessels due to high blood pressure. Signs of retinopathy include narrowing of blood vessels, bleeding and leakage of fluid in the retina, and swelling of the macula and/or optic nerve. Patients with mild to moderate hypertensive retinopathy typically do not experience visual symptoms.
Therefore, it is important that patients who have been diagnosed with hypertension get a comprehensive eye exam annually to prevent permanent vision loss.