What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease in which a person’s body does not produce insulin or resists insulin in the blood. In certain situations, the body may not produce enough insulin.
The lack of insulin or the resistance to insulin means an individual ends up with high blood sugar unless he or she carefully regulates and maintains a healthy blood sugar range. Due to the possibility of a sudden increase in blood glucose levels, the eyes are particularly vulnerable. Diabetic eye care focuses on reducing the risks and understanding the impact of the physical health condition on the visual health of individuals.
Diabetic Eye Care in Virginia Beach and Norfolk
People with either Type 1 or 2 Diabetes need to have an annual eye exam to monitor potential sight threatening complications. At our clinics in New Tampa and New Port Richey, we offer treatment and screening for diabetic eye health to limit the risk of losing your vision and understanding the options available when problems develop.
How it Impacts Eye Health
Due to the high blood glucose levels associated with insulin resistance or a lack of insulin production in the body, the impact on visual health varies between individuals. In most cases, people with diabetes have problems in the retina. The blood vessels in the retina face damage from sudden or major changes to blood sugar levels. The retina contains some of the smallest capillaries in the body that simply cannot handle the “thick” blood of a diabetic who’s sugar levels are spiking.
Gilbert Eyecare of Norfolk and Virginia Beach offers the latest in digital screening for diabetic complications. Both you and your doctor will be able to look at high resolution color images of the entire back of your eyes. This technology allows our doctors to compare images year after year, zoom in on problem areas, and even send these images instantly to your Primary Care Physician or Endocrinologist. They are no longer relying on using a bright light and a scope to try to see the inner workings of the eye. This provides more comprehensive care, and a painless experience to you, the patient.
Treatment Options from Our Optometrists
Treatment options for these diabetic conditions depend on the symptoms that may be present. Generally, we recommend a controlled diet and blood sugar management. By keeping your blood glucose levels within healthy ranges, you reduce the risk of damage to the blood vessels in the retina or other parts of the eyes.
For conditions like glaucoma or cataracts, we may recommend the use of certain medications. For example, we may provide eye drops to reduce the pressure in your eyes or we make use medications to slow the progression of cataracts. When appropriate, we suggest laser treatments to prevent further damage, reduce pressure build up or treat certain types of concerns causing visual changes.
Early treatment is essential for the health of your eyes. We recommend annual visits to address potential problems and you should always inform optometrists about major changes to your physical health. Since diabetes may impact your visual health and contribute to certain conditions, we recommend a visit to our clinic when a doctor diagnoses the health condition. We also recommend annual visits to keep up with changes or treat conditions in an early stage. To learn more about protecting your vision after a physical ailment, contact us today at 757-622-0200 (Norfolk) or 757-425-0200 (Virginia Beach).