4 conditions with signs and symptoms that arise in the eyes
May 26, 2021
New Patient Appointment or 214-645-2020
UT Southwestern Medical Center's ophthalmologists specialize in treating diabetic retinopathy, a complication of diabetes that affects vision. From performing annual eye exams to medically and surgically treating the most complex cases of this condition, we work to prevent its progression. If left untreated, diabetic retinopathy can cause severe vision loss or even blindness.
Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes that involves damage to blood vessels in the retina (inner layer at the back of the eye). High blood sugar levels cause swelling, leaking, blockage, or abnormal growth of blood vessels in the retina, which affects vision.
Diabetic retinopathy is the most common cause of vision loss for people with diabetes and the leading cause of vision problems and blindness in adults of working age (21 through 64).
UT Southwestern ophthalmologists work closely with endocrinologists, which are specialists who manage and treat hormone conditions such as diabetes. Endocrinologists can help people properly control their blood sugar levels to prevent diabetic retinopathy.
Diabetes causes chronically high blood sugar, which in turn can cause damage to blood vessels in the retina. The damage causes vision loss and can lead to blindness.
People with any kind of diabetes (Type 1, Type 2, or gestational) can develop retinopathy. Factors that can increase the risk of developing the condition include:
People who have diabetic retinopathy might not notice symptoms until damage to the eyes becomes severe. That's why it's important for anyone with diabetes to have regular eye exams, to check for early signs of any problems.
When symptoms do appear, they include:
Our ophthalmologists begin their evaluation with a comprehensive medical eye exam. Some of the tests we might perform include:
In its early stages, diabetic retinopathy might require only monitoring by an eye specialist with experience in treating diabetic eye disease. As the condition progresses, treatment options include:
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