Diabetic Eye Disease

Diabetic Eye Disease

Quality Eye Care in Birmingham, AL

At Callahan Eye Clinic, our mission is to help our patients achieve gorgeous, crystal clear vision through expert eye treatments and care. As a leading ophthalmologist serving the Birmingham, AL area, we offer a wide range of eye treatments to our patients, and we strive to personalize care to fit into our patients' lifestyles. We treat a wide range of conditions at our practice, including all forms of diabetic eye disease.

What is Diabetic Eye Disease?

Diabetic eye disease is a blanket term for a range of eye and vision problems that can develop as complications stemming from diabetes. These complications come from the unstable, increased blood sugar levels caused by diabetes, which stress the small, fragile blood vessels in the eyes and can cause serious vision problems – in fact, diabetic eye disease is the most common cause of blindness in the US. There are two major types of diabetic eye disease: diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema. 

Diabetic Eye Disease

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is a condition caused by diabetes where pathological changes take place in the blood vessels within the retina. These changes destabilize the retinal blood vessels, causing them to swell, hemorrhage, and leak fluid in the retina, also compromising the retina's blood supply. In response to the compromised blood supply, new blood vessels often grow to reestablish oxygen supply – but these blood vessels suffer the same problems, causing even more severe issues. 

Diabetic Macular Edema

 Diabetic macular edema is another diabetes-induced eye condition caused by the new, leaky blood vessels that can grow as a result of diabetic retinopathy. These new blood vessels may leak fluid underneath the retina, causing the macula – the part of the retina that allows us to see details and most color – to swell. This swelling can cause changes and impairment in vision, and over time, the excess fluid, in combination with the other effects of diabetic retinopathy, can contribute to blindness. 

How to Prevent Diabetic Eye Disease

If you're suffering from diabetes, there are steps you can take to protect the health of your eyes and prevent diabetic eye disease. By carefully managing your diabetes through a healthy, balanced diet, a regular exercise regimen, and blood sugar control, you can avoid the blood sugar instability that leads to diabetic retinopathy and macular edema. The most important part of preventing diabetic eye disease is maintaining a stable level of blood sugar. In addition to these measures, having regular eye exams is vital to catching problems before they become serious and protecting your vision for the long-term. 

In addition to these methods, your doctor may be able to recommend medication that can help control your blood sugar levels. If you do develop diabetic retinopathy or macular edema, there are a number of treatments that can help reverse the process and protect your vision:

  • Laser Photocoagulation – This procedure causes the abnormal, leaky blood vessels of diabetic retinopathy to shrink
  • Vitrectomy – This procedure treats severe retinal bleeding
  • Anti-VEGF Injections – Prevents the formation of new blood vessels, helping to minimize the damage of retinopathy and prevent macular edema

Contact Your Birmingham Eye Clinic

If you're living with diabetes, it's vital to be proactive in caring for the health of your eyes and vision – and the Callahan Eye Clinic can help. Our mission is to help you manage your condition to protect the health of your vision, and we have extensive experience treating diabetic eye disease. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help prevent and treat diabetic eye disease and to schedule a consultation with us. We look forward to helping you protect the healthy, clear vision you deserve!