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Is Eye Damage from Diabetes Reversible?

Diabetes is a serious disease that can lead to potential complications and frequent co-morbidities that affect many essential parts of the body including the heart, liver, kidneys and eyes. Diabetes poses an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, nerve damage and diabetic retinopathy. Diabetes is a common cause of vision loss due to diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and cataracts. If left untreated, vision loss due to diabetes is irreversible. 

Symptoms of Type 1 diabetes can develop quickly; however, Type 2 diabetes is a slow progression taking weeks or even years for symptoms to become noticeable. The risk of developing diabetic retinopathy is about 50-60% with Type 2 diabetes and is even higher at 90% probability with Type 1 diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy in both insulin and non-insulin dependent diabetes occurs 3 to 5 years after initial onset. 

Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that affects the blood vessels in the retina, the light-sensitive layer of tissue in the back of the eye. Diabetic retinopathy occurs when too much blood sugar damages the blood vessels in the retina. Diabetes affects blood vessels all over the body. The eyes are harmed when sugar blocks the tiny vessels that travel to the retina. This will cause them to leak fluid or bleed. Treatments for diabetic retinopathy include photocoagulation, scatter photocoagulation, focal photocoagulation, and vitrectomy. All 3 photocoagulation procedures involve lasers treating the leaking blood vessels. Vitrectomy is a surgical procedure that removes scar tissue and the vitreous gel inside the eye. Diabetic macular edema is a build-up of fluid in the macula, a part of the eye responsible for seeing straight ahead and affects more than half of patients diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy. 

The easiest way to avoid diabetes is prevention. Prevention of diabetes includes eliminating sugar and simple or refined carbohydrates, losing weight and weight loss maintenance, quit smoking, drink water as the only or primary beverage, and getting regular exercise. Although there is speculation that changes in diet can reverse eye damage from diabetes, there is currently no scientific evidence to support that eye damage from diabetes is reversible, only that maintaining control of blood glucose levels and insulin, along with dietary and changes, will stay eye damage from diabetes from progressing further. 

If eye diseases related to diabetes are detected early, they can be treated to prevent eye damage. Routine are exams are essential for good eye health and to provide you with the best vision possible. At Associated Retina Consultants we offer comprehensive vision examinations and specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of a wide array of diseases and conditions, including those related to diabetes. Click WEBSITE or call 602-242-4928 to connect with our friendly office staff and access the quality of vision care you deserve. 

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