Diabetes is a disease that affects blood vessels throughout the body, with the vessels in the kidneys and eyes being particularly hard hit. Retinal blood vessels are predisposed to leaking blood, called diabetic retinopathy, or fluid, called diabetic maculopathy. Either type of leakage will cause a decrease in vision. When this leakage in diabetics is severe or prolonged, it may cause a profound loss of vision with, at times, a permanent visual impairment. Dr. Mendelsohn and Dr. Klein perform a dilated eye exam and OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography) to detect diabetic eye disease, at even its most incipient stages.
On a weekly basis, Dr. Alan Mendelsohn or Dr. Nathan Klein, while performing a comprehensive eye exam, will detect diabetic retinopathy and/or maculopathy in individuals who are totally unaware that they even have diabetes. Our physicians will immediately refer you for appropriate diabetic management. This early detection will help preserve your eyesight, kidney function, and health of other vital organs. In fact, in a recently published article in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), researchers found a greater risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD), including fatal CVD, in patients with diabetic retinopathy or maculopathy. The highly respected journal, Eye World, interviewed Alan Mendelsohn, MD, FACS for his analysis of this research as a statewide leader in the field.
If the diabetic retinopathy becomes advanced, new, abnormal blood vessels grow into the retina posing as a perilous situation requiring prompt treatment. These abnormal blood vessels can bleed profusely into the retina, or into the vitreous gel in front of the retina, causing a precipitious large blind spot or substantial loss of vision. Worse yet, the new vessels also may damage the retina by forming scar tissue and precipitate a retinal detachment, leading to blindness if left untreated.
Alan Mendelsohn, M.D., F.A.C.S., and Nathan Klein, O.D., fervently believe that all diabetics should be examined at six-month intervals because everyone who has diabetes is at risk for developing diabetic retinopathy and/or maculopathy. Our physicians believe that there are preventative steps that diabetics should take to significantly reduce the incidence of diabetic eye disease, including each of the following:
- Refraining from smoking
- Keeping your blood sugar under good control
- Obtaining quarterly hemoglobin A1C testing (which indicate blood sugar control over a 3-month period).
- Keeping your blood pressure under good control
- Maintaining a healthy diet
- Exercising regularly
- Getting an eye exam at 6-month intervals