Westside Optometry continues to recognize November as Diabetes Awareness Month, although diabetes is something that deserves attention all 365 days of the year.  If you have diabetes, I will dilate your eyes at least once a year. Diabetes can affect many organs of the body, in the eyes it causes blindness.

Many problems develop in the retina due to diabetes. The possibilities include abnormal blood vessel growth, hemorrhages and lipid leakage. If these problems are allowed to continue without treatment they will cause scarring which leads to detachment of the retina. Another complication is the leakage of fluid under the macula which will severely reduce vision.

Not all these conditions will have symptoms. Only when the bleeding or fluids reach a certain size will you notice blur or dark spots. The earlier changes in the retina are detected, the better treatment results will be.

The picture above shows some of the changes diabetes causes in the retina. There is bleeding and some areas where blood isn’t flowing properly (ischemia). This patient did not notice any changes in his vision. If you have diabetes, don’t wait until you have vision changes, it may be too late.

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