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    Diabetic Retinopathy: Learn How an Optometrist Can Help

    Diabetic retinopathy affects millions of men and women with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, and it’s the leading cause of blindness among people with diabetes. Having regular eye exams performed by a skilled and experienced optometrist is a critically important part of preventing vision loss due to DR and other diabetes-related eye diseases.
    H.M. Calvert MD and Associates is a leading provider of senior eye care services for patients in Franklin and Clarksville, including diagnosis and treatment of diabetic retinopathy. Here’s what you need to know to prevent vision loss due to DR so you can enjoy optimal vision at every age.
    closed up shot of woman eyes

    What is diabetic retinopathy?

    Diabetic retinopathy is a disease that affects the retina, the light-sensitive area at the back of the eye that gathers light and transmits information to the brain where it can be interpreted as images. Specifically, DR affects the blood vessels that supply the retina with oxygen and other nutrients. In DR, these tiny vessels weaken and begin to leak fluids into the retina, causing swelling that interferes with vision. In some people, these changes in the existing vessels cause new vessels to form, a condition called proliferative DR. These new vessels spread across the retina and obscure vision.

    What symptoms does diabetic retinopathy cause?

    In its early stages, diabetic retinopathy tends to cause very few symptoms, which is one reason why having regular eye exams with your optometrist is so important for maintaining your vision and your eye health. As symptoms progress, you may notice symptoms like:
    • blurry vision
    • increased numbers of “floaters,” tiny black dots or squiggles that float across your field of vision
    • dark or “blank” spots that appear in your field of vision
    • reduced ability to see distinct and vibrant colors

    What steps does an optometrist take to diagnose diabetic retinopathy?

    When you visit your optometry practice, the eye doctor will use an array of tests and evaluations to assess your vision, in addition to exams designed to evaluate your retina. These tests use special eye drops that dilate your pupils so the doctor can see inside your eye and assess your retina. Our Clarksville and Franklin optometry practice is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment used to accurately diagnose and assess an array of vision problems, including diabetic retinopathy, so you can feel confident you’ll receive the most appropriate and most effective care.

    How is diabetic retinopathy treated?

    In the early stages of the disease, symptoms may be managed and vision loss prevented with better glucose management to stabilize blood sugar levels. In its more advanced stages, laser therapy or other more aggressive approaches may be needed to prevent blood vessel leakage or remove scar tissue that can block vision or cause the retinas to detach from the eye. Our eye care team works closely with each patient to develop a plan of treatment that’s tailored specifically to the patient’s needs for optimal results.

    Have your eyes evaluated today by calling us!

    As a top provider of senior eye care services for patients in Clarksville and Franklin, H.M. Calvert MD and Associates helps men and women understand their vision problems and get the care they need to prevent vision loss due to diabetic retinopathy and other diseases and disorders.. Take the next step toward a better vision and better eye health. Schedule an exam today by calling our Clarksville office at 931-552-2233 or our Franklin office at 615-771-9979.