Diabetic Eye Care

If you have diabetes, getting regular eye exams can lead to early detection and treatment of eye diseases that, if left untreated, can cause serious vision problems and even blindness. At New York Ophthalmology, our ophthalmologists provide diabetic eye care in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens to New York City and Long Island residents.

Diabetes and the Eyes

High blood sugar associated with diabetes can cause systemic complications when it’s not closely monitored. Uncontrolled high blood sugar can affect the blood vessels in your eyes, leading to blurry vision, cataracts, glaucoma, and a condition called diabetic retinopathy—damage to the retina that’s directly related to diabetes. High blood pressure and high cholesterol levels associated with diabetes are also related to diabetic retinopathy.

Diabetic retinopathy typically worsens over time if not treated, causing permanent eye damage and even blindness. This occurs when blood vessels on the retina’s surface break and pull the retina from its normal position. This condition, called retinal detachment, requires prompt medical attention.

There are typically 2 types of diabetic retinopathy. They are:

  • Non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy: In its early stage, diabetic retinopathy may cause mild symptoms or there may not be any symptoms at all. This form of retinopathy occurs when blood vessels become weak but have not yet broken or caused scar tissue.
  • Proliferative diabetic retinopathy: As the condition becomes more advanced, it often causes noticeable visual disturbances. It occurs when blood vessels begin to grow abnormally.
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Our team of board-certified ophthalmologists and eye care specialists provides a range of eye health and vision care services for patients at our modern, comfortable offices in the Bronx and Queens. Our entire staff is dedicated to making your visit positive and enjoyable.

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Symptoms & Risk Factors

Properly managing your diabetes is important to help avoid diabetic retinopathy and other ocular conditions related to diabetes. Our eye care specialists recommend annual eye exams for our diabetic patients in order to diagnose these conditions and effectively treat them. Symptoms that can indicate damage include the following:

  • Visual disturbances, such as blurriness, that come and go
  • Floaters, spots, or shadows
  • Pain in your eyes
  • Early development of cataracts

People with type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes are all at risk for diabetic retinopathy and its complications, including diabetic macular edema.

Cataracts and Diabetes

Even though most people get cataracts as they age, people with diabetes tend to suffer from this condition earlier than most and the condition progresses more rapidly than in patients without diabetes.

Glaucoma and Diabetes

Increased pressure on the eye can damage the optic nerve and ultimately lead to vision loss. Diabetes is associated with a rare type of glaucoma called neovascular glaucoma, which occurs when abnormal blood vessels grow on the iris (the colored part of the eye).

Caring for Our Diabetic Patients

Among our team of ophthalmologists are eye doctors who specialize in diabetic eye care, including those who are fellowship-trained in treating retinal diseases. Using advanced diagnostic tools, our specialists examine your eyes to detect any signs or symptoms of eye conditions that require monitoring or treatment. In addition to sharing their expertise, our physicians treat diabetic patients with compassion and respect. We understand that the condition is one that can affect patients on a daily basis and we want to provide a positive experience.

Treatment for diabetic retinopathy may range from careful monitoring to laser-assisted surgery. Our specialists clearly explain each of your options and ensure you’re well-informed before moving forward with any procedures.

If you don’t have a primary care physician to help manage your diabetes, our eye doctors can refer you to physicians in the area who specialize in treating diabetes.

Diabetic Eye Care FAQ

What is the first sign of diabetic retinopathy?
In the beginning stages of diabetic retinopathy, patients are generally asymptomatic, with occasional reports of blurred vision. As diabetic retinopathy advances, patients may experience symptoms such as blurred vision, floaters, and/or distortion.

Can diabetic retinopathy go away?
Diabetes is a lifelong condition for most. While there is no cure for diabetic retinopathy, its progression can often be halted with retina treatments, including eye injections, lasers, and surgery.

How can diabetics take care of their eyes?
Controlling blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels are important in the care of diabetic retinopathy. Regular doctor visits, improved diet, and exercise are also very important.

To learn more about the special eye care considerations for people with diabetes, request an appointment using our online form, or call our office at 1-888-212-EYES to schedule an appointment at one of our New York City or Long Island locations.

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