Diabetes is a micro-vascular disease, meaning it causes greatest damage to the fine blood vessels of our bodies. A comprehensive eye exam is extremely beneficial because it offers a unique view of these vessels first hand, something that is not possible anywhere else on our bodies.
As doctors, we are able to see these changes before they cause vision-threatening damage, and are able to communicate with specialists in other fields to improve glucose control in an effort to reduce progression.
Unfortunately, diabetes continues to be the leading cause of newly diagnosed adult (20 to 74 years of age) blindness in the United States.
Glaucoma comes in several different forms, but in the United States the most common form is open-angle glaucoma. It is a chronic progressive condition where elevated pressure within the eye leads to chronic and progressive visual field loss. Most typically this damage occurs peripherally before it affects central vision. As such, it is extremely hard for a patient to detect and can lead to significant degradation of vision if not caught early.
Treatment varies depending on severity, but typically starts with an eye drop designed to lower eye pressure but may progress to surgery for more difficult cases.
Cataract is the term used to describe the progressive cloudiness/opacification of the lens within our eyes. It is a natural age-related change that will affect everyone to a varying degree. Some individuals will require cataract surgery in their 50's, others not until their80's or 90's, but the vast majority undergo surgery in their mid-to-late 60's.
A cataract produces slow degradation of vision, typically starting with difficulty in dim-lit environments or trouble night driving. At some point the cataracts will begni to reduce the quality of distance vision, even with the perfect pair of glasses.
Through a comprehensive eye examination your eye doctor can tell you whether you have a cataract, and to what degree it may be impacting your vision.
Information About Eye Health...
Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration (ARMD) is a progressive disease which affects central vision first. It can produce mild visual changes such as wavy distortion to central vision, but can progress to significant visual deterioration and possibly eventual blindness.
The disease is classified into two groups: dry ARMD and wet ARMD. The dry form tends to be visually less severe and accounts for the large majority of cases. The wet form represents 10-15% of cases, but accounts for approximately 90% of all cases of severe vision loss from the disease.
Treatment options for the wet form have been improved significantly over the past 5-10 years, currently injectable medications have shown the most benefit. The dry form is still poorly understood but a link between UV damage, smoking, and diet seems to exist. There are oral supplements that may be suggested by your eye doctor if they feel it is appropriate for your case.