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512-233-6204
401 W. Whitestone Blvd. Ste B-200, Cedar Park, Texas 78613

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Diabetes and Your Eyes

Diabetes is becoming much more prevalent around the globe. According to the International Diabetes Federation, approximately 425 million adults were living with diabetes in the year 2017 and 352 million more people were at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. By 2045 the number of people diagnosed is expected to rise to 629 million. 

Diabetes is a leading cause of blindness as well as heart attacks, stroke, kidney failure, neuropathy (nerve damage) and lower limb amputation. In fact, in 2017, diabetes was implicated in 4 million deaths worldwide. Nevertheless preventing these complications from diabetes is possible with proper treatment, medication and regular medical screenings as well as improving your diet, physical activity and adopting a healthy lifestyle.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the hormone insulin is either underproduced or ineffective in its ability to regulate blood sugar. Uncontrolled diabetes leads to hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar, which damages many systems in the body such as the blood vessels and the nervous system.  

How Does Diabetes Affect The Eyes?

Diabetic eye disease is a group of conditions which are caused, or worsened, by diabetes; including: diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, glaucoma and cataracts. Diabetes increases the risk of cataracts by four times, and can increase dryness and reduce cornea sensation.

In diabetic retinopathy, over time, the tiny blood vessels within the eyes become damaged, causing leakage, poor oxygen circulation, then scarring of the sensitive tissue within the retina, which can result in further cell damage and scarring. 

The longer you have diabetes, and the longer your blood sugar levels remain uncontrolled, the higher the chances of developing diabetic eye disease. Unlike many other vision-threatening conditions which are more prevalent in older individuals, diabetic eye disease is one of the main causes of vision loss in the younger, working-age population. Unfortunately, these eye conditions can lead to blindness if not caught early and treated. In fact, 2.6% of blindness worldwide is due to diabetes. 

Diabetic Retinopathy

As mentioned above, diabetes can result in cumulative damage to the blood vessels in the retina, the light-sensitive tissue located at the back of the eye. This is called diabetic retinopathy. 

The retina is responsible for converting the light it receives into visual signals to the optic nerve in the brain. High blood sugar levels can cause the blood vessels in the retina to leak or hemorrhage, causing bleeding and distorting vision. In advanced stages, new blood vessels may begin to grow on the retinal surface causing scarring and further damaging cells in the retina. Diabetic retinopathy can eventually lead to blindness. 

Signs and Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy

The early stages of diabetic retinopathy often have no symptoms, which is why it’s vitally important to have frequent diabetic eye exams. As it progresses you may start to notice the following symptoms:

  • Blurred or fluctuating vision or vision loss
  • Floaters (dark spots or strings that appear to float in your visual field)
  • Blind spots
  • Color vision loss

There is no pain associated with diabetic retinopathy to signal any issues. If not controlled, as retinopathy continues it can cause retinal detachment and macular edema, two other serious conditions that threaten vision. Again, there are often NO signs or symptoms until more advanced stages. 

A person with diabetes can do their part to control their blood sugar level. Following the physician’s medication plan, as well as diet and exercise recommendations can help slow the progression of diabetic retinopathy. 

Retinal Detachment

Scar tissues caused by the breaking and forming of blood vessels in advanced retinopathy can lead to a retinal detachment in which the retina pulls away from the underlying tissue. This condition is a medical emergency and must be treated immediately as it can lead to permanent vision loss. Signs of a retinal detachment include a sudden onset of floaters or flashes in the vision. 

Diabetic Macular Edema (DME)

Diabetic macular edema occurs when the macula, a part of the retina responsible for clear central vision, becomes full of fluid (edema). It is a complication of diabetic retinopathy that occurs in about half of patients, and causes vision loss. 

Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy and Diabetic Macular Edema

While vision loss from diabetic retinopathy and DME often can’t be restored, with early detection there are some preventative treatments available. Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (when the blood vessels begin to grow abnormally) can be treated by laser surgery, injections or a procedure called vitrectomy in which the vitreous gel in the center of the eye is removed and replaced. This will treat bleeding caused by ruptured blood vessels. DME can be treated with injection therapy, laser surgery or corticosteroids. 

Prevent Vision Loss from Diabetes

The best way to prevent vision loss from diabetic eye disease is early detection and treatment. Since there may be no symptoms in the early stages, regular diabetic eye exams are critical for early diagnosis. In fact diabetics are now sometimes monitored by their health insurance to see if they are getting regular eye exams and premium rates can be affected by how regularly the patients get their eyes checked. Keeping diabetes under control through exercise, diet, medication and regular screenings will help to reduce the chances of vision loss and blindness from diabetes. 

 

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Welcome to Texas State Optical Cedar Park

Our Location

401 W. Whitestone Blvd. Ste B-200
Cedar Park, TX 78613

Office Details

401 W. Whitestone Blvd. Ste B-200
Cedar Park, TX 78613
  • 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
  • 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
  • 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
  • 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
  • 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM
  • 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM
  • Closed

Tuesday & Saturday by appointment only. Please call ahead.

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Our Reviews

Very good experience. Top notch service from the beginning to the end. I found my new eye doctor and staff. Very pleased.
3 weeks ago
5
- Gabe G.
eye doctor's office
Excellent service
4 weeks ago
5
- Nancy H.
eye doctor's office
A perfect balance of professionalism and friendliness--Dr. Yonker and his team are exceptional!
4 weeks ago
5
- Sherry S.
eye doctor's office
The ladies at the front desk are very polite and helpful. Doctor Jeffrey is a friendly guy; he is passionate about his work.
1 month ago
5
- James W.
eye doctor's office
Great Doctor of Optometry. Knowledgeable, personable. Office Team very customer friendly. My appointment was close to noon so one of the office team was out for her lunch break-The young lady who also assists with the optical department and the equipment portion of the exam-(the preliminary stuff) handled the front desk with the incoming patients, the phones, and greeting etc. until the other young lady returned. The Optometrist did my eye photos and measurements himself as his assistant really could not leave her post while flying solo— to perform them at my particular appointment time. There’s a wide range of lenses and eyeglass frames to choose from. They are a little on the high side compared to discount stores but they do have several selections that start at $139 for the frames and they have many options on the lenses so you can get the very highest grade carbon lenses or you can choose something a little less costly. They do take many insurances and they do file them for you so that’s a huge benefit. I’ll be going to pick up my new glasses in about a week and I’ll follow up at that point. If you have any medical issues they also will take you and see you for those and they will bill your insurance on the medical side and they do accept Medicare-.I will clarify but I’m sure that diabetics would be covered under Medicare for their services. To reiterate, Dr Yanker was very personable and took quite a bit of time with me. .
2 months ago
4
- Susan W.
eye doctor's office
Dr. Yonker is fantastic and so welcoming! Would recommend to everyone!
2 months ago
5
- Coach A.
eye doctor's office
Quick and efficient- I felt welcomed by the whole team- Mallory, Dr. Yonker and the lady that helped check me in and out of the office (I didn’t catch her name, unfortunately.)
2 months ago
5
- Caroline R.
eye doctor's office