TEXARKANA, Texas -- This month's emphasis on Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness gives healthcare workers the chance to spread the word about how people with diabetes can protect their vision.
People with diabetes are more likely to develop eye diseases that lead to blindness. Diabetic retinopathy is the most common cause of vision impairment or blindness in working-age adults.
Dr. Roshan George, a retina surgeon at Collum and Carney Clinic in Texarkana, says the condition is caused by damage to blood vessels in the eyes.
“So, when you have diabetes in the eyes, it starts decreasing the blood circulation. And as a result your body can create new and abnormal vessels, which bleed,” George explains. “Sometimes the bleeding can turn into scar tissue formation. And ultimately, those lead to blindness.”
Diabetes can also cause macular edema, which is a build-up of fluid in the retina. George says early intervention can help many people who are losing their eyesight due to diabetes.
“So there are definitely plenty of patients, even when they’ve had diabetic retinopathy, as long as we address it early, address it effectively, those patients actually do very well.”
Both conditions can be treated with injections and laser surgery. Early intervention can make all the difference.