What is Diabetic Retinopathy?

Our diabetic patients here at Montgomery Foot Care Specialists know that daily foot exams are an essential part of their self-care. Foot complications are very common for anyone with diabetes – even for those who do a good job of controlling their blood sugar. That’s why we advise our patients with diabetes to self-check every day and also to visit us at our Montgomery County podiatry office for an annual foot exam.

However, diabetic complications don’t limit themselves to the feet. Protecting your eyesight is another important reason to prevent or stay on top of diabetes. In observance of Diabetes Awareness Month, let’s look at diabetes-induced eye complications, also called diabetic retinopathy.

Compromised blood vessels

As Dr. Heidi M. Christie and Dr. Chanda L. Day-Houts explain it, high blood sugar can eventually damage blood vessels anywhere in the body. When blood vessels become damaged or blocked, blood doesn’t circulate well. Poor circulation to your feet causes pain, cramping, and wounds that don’t heal easily.

Similarly, blockages in the blood vessels leading to your eyes cause serious problems, most of which have to do with the structure at the back of your eye, the retina. Poor blood flow to the retina can literally starve the tissue of essential nutrients and cause the retina to swell or detach completely from the back wall of the eye. Your vision suffers when damaged blood vessels leak or form scar tissue. Signs of diabetic retinopathy include blurry vision, dark or empty spots in your field of vision, and difficulty seeing colors.

Diabetics need annual eye exams

Diabetic retinopathy can be present even if you have no symptoms. It’s also possible that your first symptom might be a complete loss of vision. Therefore, regular eye exams are essential for anyone with diabetes. Your eye doctor can detect problems early on and recommend appropriate treatments.

We’re proud to serve on your team of diabetes care providers. We specialize in feet, but we treat your whole person with care and respect. Call us for an annual exam or with any concerns about your feet. Our number in Montgomery, Alabama is (334) 396-3668. You may also contact us online.