November marks Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month, which here at Middletown Eyecare in Middletown, KY we want to increase awareness of diabetes and diabetic eye disease and encourage people with diabetes to seek treatment for vision problems related to diabetes. The main type of diabetic disease that occurs within the eye is diabetic retinopathy, which is the new leading cause of blindness in adults.
There are 4 stages of diabetic retinopathy according to the American optometry association:
- Mild non-proliferative retinopathy: Small areas of swelling occur in the retina’s blood vessels.
- Moderate non-proliferative retinopathy: Blood vessels that nourish the retina become blocked or congested
- Severe non-proliferative retinopathy: More blood vessels become blocked, which ultimately disrupts the blood supply that nourishes the retina. The damaged retina then signals the body to produce new blood vessels.
- Proliferative retinopathy: At this advanced stage, signals sent by the retina trigger the development of new blood vessels that grow (or proliferate) in the retina and the vitreous, which is a transparent gel that fills the interior of the eye. Because these new blood vessels are abnormal, they can rupture and bleed, causing hemorrhages in the retina or vitreous. Scar tissue can develop and can tug at the retina, causing further damage or even retinal detachment.
But, our office wants to ensure you that coming in for annual eye exams and Dr. Burns doing a comprehensive eye exam will allow us to catch this disease early if you do have it. If you have any further questions please contact our office at 502-245-0305 to schedule your next appointment.