If you have diabetes, then you may be at risk of developing a wide variety of eye conditions. These conditions include cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is a serious condition that involves damage to the small capillaries that line the retina. When these blood vessels become damaged, the retina no longer receives the oxygen and nutrients that it needs and cells begin to die off. This will lead to the formation of blind spots and eventual blindness. You can reduce your chances of forming advanced diabetic retinopathy by seeking out exams with your ophthalmologist and by following treatment suggestions. 

Seek Out Regular Eye Appointments

It may make sense to seek out regular eye exams and check ups if you face a serious disease like diabetic retinopathy that can leave you blind. However, many people do not make arrangements to seek out assistance from an ophthalmologist as often as they should. Unfortunately, 4 million diabetics suffer from some form of diabetic retinopathy, and individuals do not schedule exams because symptoms only appear once the disease reaches an advanced stage.

This stage is called proliferative retinopathy and new blood vessels will start to form along the retina because so many of the old ones will be blocked or damaged. These vessels will leak blood, due to their fragile nature, and the fluids in the eye will cause vision loss problems. Diabetic retinopathy can be caught in the early stages, but you will need to make sure to meet with your doctor about once a year so that an in-depth exam can be completed. 

Eye Exams

An in-depth eye exam means that your ophthalmologist dilates your pupils so your retinas can be clearly examined and the blood vessels of your eye can be inspected as well. Eye pressure tests and visual acuity exams will likely take place as well. If your eye doctor notices any signs of leaking blood vessels, swelling within the eye, or any sort of abnormal cell damage, then a test called a fluorescein angiogram may be scheduled.

During the test, a dye will be injected into the body and pictures of the eye will be taken as the fluid moves through the tiny capillaries. These pictures will show the ophthalmologist where the damaged blood vessels are located and whether or not there are areas of the retina where blood is not flowing at all.

Control Blood Sugar

If your ophthalmologist sees the beginning stages of diabetic retinopathy, then he or she will suggest that you follow a regimen that helps to control your blood sugar levels properly. This is the best way to stop advanced retinopathy from forming, and your overall health will benefit as well.

You may need to start thinking about tight blood sugar control where blood sugar levels remain between 70 and 130 before you eat and soar only to about 180 after you consume food. This means that you need to test your blood sugar levels often throughout the day and you may need to increase insulin injections as well. Exercising several times a week and consistently eating low-sugar foods are necessary as well.

Schedule Surgery

If you are an elderly individual or if you find it too difficult to control blood sugar levels, then you may need to schedule surgical treatment as soon as your retinopathy progresses. Your ophthalmologist will look for leaking blood vessels and the formation of new ones. If the new capillaries start leaking, then a laser treatment will be performed. During the operation, a laser will be utilized to burn the new blood vessels where they are leaking blood. This will stop fluid from leaking into the eye and causing blind spots to form. This type of procedure may need to be completed several times to keep advanced retinopathy at bay.

Visit a site like http://www.drgrantmdretinalspecialist.com to learn about other services an ophthalmologist can provide.