Diabetic Eye Care Specialist

Pacific Eye

Ophthalmologists & Optometrists located in Central Coast of California

Diabetic retinopathy is the most common cause of vision loss in patients with diabetes. The team at Pacific Eye have extensive experience working with patients who have diabetes at their offices in San Luis Obispo, Lompoc, Paso Robles, Pismo Beach, and Santa Maria, California, as well as Optical Concepts in Santa Maria. The doctors help men and women keep their blood sugar well managed and monitor their eyes for the earliest signs of diabetic eye disease. If you have diabetes, protect your vision with specialized diabetic eye care; call or schedule an appointment online today.

Diabetic Eye Care Q & A

Why do I need diabetic eye care?

If you have diabetes, you need routine comprehensive eye exams to protect your vision. High blood sugar progressively damages your eyes, yet you won’t have any symptoms until the damage is so severe you suffer vision loss.

When you see the doctors at Pacific Eye on a regular basis, they can detect early signs of diabetic eye disease and help you take steps to prevent the problem from worsening. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends the following exam schedule:

  • Type 1 diabetes: First eye exam five years after your diagnosis, then every year afterward
  • Type 2 diabetes: First eye exam as soon as you’re diagnosed, then yearly afterward

An immediate eye exam is important when you’re diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes because this disease progresses for years before it’s detected in most cases. As a result, may have high blood sugar and potential eye damage by the time you learn you’re diabetic.

What is diabetic eye disease?

Uncontrolled diabetes causes two primary eye diseases, diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema (DME). Patients with diabetes also have a higher risk of developing cataracts and glaucoma compared to those who don’t have diabetes.

How does diabetic retinopathy develop?

As ongoing high blood sugar damages blood vessels in your retina, diabetic retinopathy progresses through two stages, nonproliferative and proliferative.

Nonproliferative stage

Blood vessels in your retina develop aneurysms, which cause swelling and block blood flow to the retina. Before long, the blocked blood vessels begin to leak and fluid accumulates under the macula, a condition called diabetic macular edema. DME damages the macula, making it the most common cause of vision loss in patients with diabetic retinopathy.

Proliferative stage

The nonproliferative stage may progress to the proliferative stage, which is when new blood vessels grow in the retina to replace those that are blocked. These abnormal vessels are weak and leak, which affects your vision. Eventually, the leakage causes scar tissue that can lead to retinal detachment.

How is diabetic eye disease treated?

Managing your blood sugar is the key to preventing or slowing down the progression of diabetic eye disease. However, after you develop diabetic eye disease, your treatment depends on the type of the disease. The doctors at Pacific Eye provide a range of retina services and may treat diabetic retinopathy with laser eye surgery to eliminate abnormal blood vessels.

If you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, you’ll receive ongoing care for your eyes at Pacific Eye. To schedule an appointment, call or use the online booking feature.