Robert G. Alexander, MD


Vision with Diabetic Retinopathy

Photos courtesy of the National Eye Institute,
National Institutes of Health

The American Diabetes Association and the American Academy of Ophthalmologists recommend an annual eye examination through dilated pupils by a medical doctor/ Ophthalmologist for all diabetic patients. The dilated exam involves placing two drops of medication in each eye and waiting a few minutes for your pupils to relax and expand. By looking with an upright microscope (slit lamp) through your dilated pupils, Dr. Alexander can view the delicate blood vessels located at the back of the eye. An annual dilated eye exam is essential to identifying and slowing diabetic vision changes. The procedure is painless. The results are priceless.

Chronic elevated blood sugars cause the deterioration of blood vessels of the eye. Over time, changes to the eyes can lead to blurred vision, hemorrhages of the retina and blindness. Sixty percent of patients who have had diabetes for 15 years have some blood vessel damage. Early detection of blood vessel damage, known as diabetic retinopathy (see back of this card) can prevent loss of vision and blindness.

Maybe you think you are too young, but did you know that diabetes is the leading cause of blindness among Americans younger than 65?

Diabetic vision loss can usually be slowed, if diagnosed and treated promptly. Changes such as smoking cessation, controlling blood pressure, and staying in control of your diabetes by keeping your hemoglobin A1C down also help lower eye risk. Dr. Alexander will discuss strategies with you to help protect your sight and inform your primary care physician or endocrinologist.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic Retinopathy is a general term for disorders of the retina caused by diabetes. In its most common form, capillaries in the back of the eye balloon and become less efficient at passing blood and nutrients to the retina. Over time the capillary walls may deteriorate to the point where fluid leaks into the eye. If the area of fine vision in the eye (the macula) swells with fluid, a blurring of vision will occur. Left untreated or uncontrolled, diabetic macula edema and more advanced forms of diabetic retinopathy may lead to permanent vision loss. An annual dilated eye exam with an ophthalmologist is essential to identifying and slowing diabetic vision changes.

To schedule a dilated eye exam with Dr. Alexander, call 1-781-665-3773 or Toll Free: 1-800-MyVision