Santa Ana Diabetic Retinopathy
Our Santa Ana professionals know that diabetic retinopathy is a debilitating and devastating eye disease that can slowly cause loss of vision. All people who have a diabetic condition are at risk. Retina Associates of Orange County shares that people with diabetes who have blood sugars that are chronically out of control are at even higher risk. A large percentage of Americans with diabetes have some stage of diabetic retinopathy. Other risk factors for diabetic retinopathy include:
- Uncontrolled blood sugars
- Uncontrolled blood pressure
- High cholesterol and triglycerides (fats in your blood)
- Being of African American, Latino, or Native American descent
- Pregnancy (diabetic retinopathy can often become exacerbated by pregnancy)
What are the Signs of Diabetic Retinopathy?
People with early diabetic retinopathy in Santa Ana may show no signs, and the condition may go undiagnosed for years. It is critical to seek timely intervention to prevent a worsening of the disease and loss of eyesight. If left untreated, the condition may progress into a form that is more serious and less readily treatable. Therefore, people with diabetes must undergo regular yearly eye exams. This is why it is critical to be checked regularly by a recommended Santa Ana diabetic retinopathy professional.
Early symptoms of diabetic retinopathy can include:
- Dots, spots, or dark strings in the vision (floaters)
- Blurred vision
- Vision loss
- Fluctuating vision (especially when blood sugar is elevated)
- Washout or color desaturation
- Black or blank spots in the field of vision
- Pain from pressure in the eye
- A sudden loss of eyesight from a vitreous hemorrhage
How is Diabetic Retinopathy Diagnosed?
Diabetic retinopathy in Santa Ana, is typically diagnosed by an ophthalmologist during an eye exam long before symptoms become noticeable. Early diagnosis means more treatment options are available. Regular eye exams that monitor for diabetic retinopathy and other complications should be performed yearly.
In a typical exam for diabetic retinopathy, your Santa Ana ophthalmologist will check your vision, examine your eye in a slit lamp biomicroscope, and check your retina with special optical instruments. Your doctor may also need additional tests to determine why your vision is impaired and to help create a comprehensive treatment plan if you are a Santa Ana resident with symptoms of diabetic retinopathy.
I’m Diabetic—When Should I Be Checked?
You are well-advised to adhere to these guidelines as to first visits and follow-ups:
► Type 1 diabetes: Get checked within five years of being diagnosed. Then get a recheck every year after that.
► Type 2 diabetes: Get checked when diagnosed, then every year thereafter.
► During pregnancy: Get checked during the first trimester.
An ophthalmologist may need to see you more often, depending on the severity of your disease or concern about progression.
When is Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment Required?
Various treatments are available for diabetic retinopathy in Santa Ana. They are based on the nature and progression of your condition. The cornerstone of treatment is controlling blood sugar levels. Stable blood sugar lessens the chance of retinopathy and slows its rate of advancement. Studies have shown that rigorous blood sugar control can slow, halt, or even possibly reverse the disease.
Retina Associates of Orange County does not necessarily need to treat diabetic retinopathy in its initial phase, but we do need to watch it vigilantly. If new blood vessels form, or when the swelling and leaking blood vessels involve the macula, it indicates a need for treatment. Contact our office to schedule an exam or set up a time to discuss your treatment options for diabetic retinopathy in Santa Ana, California.