Diabetic Eye Disease: Be Warned!
Jessica is determined to stop you!
What is Diabetic Eye Disease (Diabetic Retinopathy)?
Diabetic eye disease occurs when the blood vessels, in the back of the eye, leak. This leaking causes swelling and bleeding in the retina which eventually can lead to blindness, if untreated. You would logically think there are early warning signs of diabetic eye disease, but this is not the typical case.
There is no pain and no outward signs of diabetes and typically the patients cannot tell there is a problem until severe vision loss occurs. It is chilling to think that your vision could be great one day and then gone the next, but that is why diabetic eye disease is so serious.
How do you diagnose Diabetic Eye Disease?
Angiograms are the “gold standard” test used to diagnose and treat diabetic eye disease, but SEECA also employs additional tests in the form of tomography (similar to a CT Scan) to help Dr. D diagnose and treat diabetic eye disease.
Are angiograms really necessary to manage diabetic eye disease?
The word Angiogram sounds scary, but the test is very simple and easy. I have never had a serious problem with this test, and Dr. D has never seen a serious side effect since 1996. So despite its name, this test is safe and yes, necessary to diagnose and treat diabetic eye disease. The good news is that your medical insurance typically covers this and all exams related to diabetes. I will do every thing in my power to get you the care you deserve, while making certain your insurance pays their share. I truly care about my patients overall well being, and work hard to make your experience at SEECA as stress free as possible.
What is the best treatment of Diabetic Eye Disease?
Prevention is the best treatment, and the key to prevention is education. Many patients say they wish they would have known about diabetic eye disease earlier, because they would have taken simple steps to protect their vision. Each diabetic should make a personal commitment to find a diabetic eye specialist and get a yearly dilated retinal exam.
Why should anyone care about diabetic eye disease?
According to the CDC, diabetes is the number one cause of blindness! On top of that, diabetes is a growing concern for the American health care system as its prevalence continues to rise at a shocking rate. Some models predict that 1/3rd of Americans will have diabetes by 2050! About half of all diabetics develop eye disease and this number will strain the available specialists who treat diabetic eye disease.
Are there other special jobs that you have at SEECA?
I perform a portion of the lasers and anti-VEGF treatments that we do for patients with diabetic eye disease. I also help coordinate care for our patients with other doctors and facilities. Frequently our patients face transportation issues and other appointments must be considered. These factors are all taken into account before we move forward with scheduling appointments for our patients. We have a large number of technicians that I create a schedule for, and we take the time to ensure our patients are scheduled to see the correct technicians to meet their needs. Dr. D works six days a week, seeing diabetic patients, and that’s helpful because it gives me numerous options. That being said, it is still a challenge to put all these schedules together. Working as a team, we strive to provide excellent care to our patients. All of our hard work and patience is worthwhile when we are able to save our patient’s sight, and we hear the genuine gratitude in their voices when they say “Thank you for everything you all have done for me. You’ve saved me.”
Is there any good news about diabetic eye disease?
There is awesome news for diabetics. There are easy laser and anti-VEGF treatments that we provide every day, that prevent blindness and vision loss, but sometimes patients are hesitant to let us help.
It’s fascinating to consider that most diabetics take great care of their teeth with regular dental visits.Yet these same people skip their retina exams with their ophthalmologist, even though this type of visit is covered by regular medical insurance. You can replace a tooth, but once you lose your sight from diabetes, it’s typically gone forever.
It’s disappointing to know that WE CAN prevent blindness with our technology, but only if patients allow us to help.
Patients frequently miss the most important point about diabetic eye disease. It’s relatively easy to PREVENT PROBLEMS before they occur but NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE to reverse retinal damage after it’s occurred.
If you wait to seek eye care AFTER you have a serious vision problem, it may be too late.
Yearly dilated retinal exams with an ophthalmologist who specializes in diabetic eye care are critical to preventing serious vision loss.
Isn’t going to a regular eye doctor good enough?
Please continue to see your regular eye doctor, but for diagnosis and treatment of diabetic eye disease, you will also need to see an ophthalmologist who specializes in diabetes. Many people incorrectly assume that seeing 20/20 on a routine “eye exam” means their retina is healthy. A phoropter (the piece of equipment you look through and answer “which is better, one or two”) CANNOT BE USED to diagnose or treat diabetic eye disease.
Any final thoughts?
I am determined to prevent unnecessary blindness in Houma. I grew up here, and I hate to see patients in our community suffer. Our goal at SEECA is to reach out to the community to educate our friends, family and patients about diabetic eye disease.