People say that the eyes are the windows to the soul but they can also be the windows into the health of the rest of the body. A comprehensive eye examination by the doctors of The Retina Group of Washington in our ophthalmology office in Bethesda can pinpoint diseases that originate in the rest of the body such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease and diabetes. Each of these diseases and others show up as conditions of the eyes. For instance, in the case of diabetes, which is the body’s inability to control the amount of sugar in the blood, the disease manifests itself in the eyes in the form of a very serious eye condition known as diabetic retinopathy.
Diabetic retinopathy is a disease where the diabetes damages the blood vessels in the extremely delicate retina, which is the tissue at the back of the eye where light is focused. In an eye affected by retinopathy the blood vessels may start to swell and leak or new unwanted blood vessels may emerge. In either case the results can be devastating, the patient can experience blurry vision, see floaters and eventually lose vision. Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness among adults. Unfortunately, diabetic retinopathy develops without warning and usually without noticeable symptoms until the disease has progressed to an advanced stage where vision can be lost. Once vision is lost it cannot be restored. A comprehensive eye exam in our ophthalmology office in Bethesda is the only way to diagnose the disease in its early stages when treatment is most effective.
Our ophthalmology office in Bethesda can help manage and significantly slow the progression of the disease through a number of treatments depending on the stage and degree of severity including medications, control of blood sugar as well as laser surgery to stop leakages. The best defense is an annual dilated examination to detect the disease early, especially if the patient is diabetic, so call our office for an appointment.