Are You at Increased Risk for Diabetic Retinopathy?

March 11, 2017 — by William Goldstein
Tags: Diabetic Retinopathy Eye Care

An illustration of a normal retina next to a diabetic retinaAt William S. Goldstein M.D. Laser Eye Care Center, Dr. Goldstein and his team treat the full range of eye diseases, including those related to diabetes. Diabetes is one of the leading causes of vision loss in the United States; however, it is also one of the most preventable causes of vision loss. At our practice, we encourage our diabetic patients to stay one step ahead of eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy by leading healthy lifestyles, taking active steps to keep their blood sugar under control, and attending regular diabetic eye exam appointments.

Another important factor in avoiding eye diseases is to know your risk factor for those diseases and to make more frequent eye exam appointments if you are at higher risk for certain conditions. Most eye diseases can be treated or at least more easily managed when they are diagnosed in their earliest possible stages. In the case of diabetic retinopathy, having diabetes is one obvious risk factor, but there are others. This is why Dr. Goldstein makes sure to discuss diabetic retinopathy risk factors during consultations at his Detroit, MI eye care center when meeting with diabetic patients.

If you have diabetes, whether type 1 or type 2, then you are at heightened risk for a variety of eye diseases, but you can also take steps to prevent them. We urge you to schedule your initial consultation with Dr. William S. Goldstein today.

What Are the Most Common Symptoms and Risk Factors for Diabetic Retinopathy?

As stated above, if you have diabetes, you are already at risk for diabetic retinopathy. You are equally at risk for the condition whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes. In its earliest stages, diabetic retinopathy produces few if any visual symptoms; however, if left untreated, it can lead to blindness.

It is best to have diabetic retinopathy diagnosed before symptoms become apparent. However, you will definitely want to schedule an eye exam immediately if you are diabetic and experience any of the following symptoms:

  • An increase in the number of floaters - dark spots or irregularly shaped lines - in your field of vision
  • Fluctuating vision
  • Blurred vision
  • Colors that appear less vivid than they once did
  • Dark or missing areas in your field of vision
  • Loss of vision

Whether you have experienced any of these symptoms or not, you are at increased risk for diabetic retinopathy and will therefore want to schedule an eye exam immediately if you are diabetic and any of the following risk factors apply to you:

  • Your blood sugar levels are not well-controlled.
  • You have high blood pressure (i.e., your blood pressure is consistently over 130/80).
  • You have had diabetes for more than 10 years.
  • You have high cholesterol.
  • You are of African, Latino, or Native American descent.
  • You are a tobacco user.
  • You are pregnant.

Even if none of these risk factors apply to you, if you are diabetic and have not had an eye exam within the last year, it would be a good idea to meet with Dr. Goldstein for a consultation soon.

Learn More about Diabetic Retinopathy Risk Factors

To learn more about diabetic retinopathy risk factors, please contact William S. Goldstein M.D. Laser Eye Care Center today.