Can diabetic retinopathy be prevented?
Not totally, but your risk can be greatly reduced. The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) showed that better control of blood sugar level slows the onset and progression of retinopathy and lessens the need for laser surgery for severe retinopathy.
The study found that the group that tried to keep their blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible also had much less kidney and nerve disease. This level of blood sugar control may not be best for everyone, including some older adults, children under 13, or people with heart disease. So ask your doctor if this program is right for you.
I have "spots" floating around in my eye. Should I be worried?
Spots and floaters are usually harmless. Read our Spots & Floaters article for details about the causes and symptoms, and how to determine if you need to see your eye doctor
How common are the other diabetic eye diseases?
If you have diabetes, you are also at risk for other diabetic eye diseases, such as cataract and glaucoma. People with diabetes develop cataract at an earlier age than people without diabetes. Cataract can usually be treated by surgery.
A person with diabetes is nearly twice as likely to get glaucoma as other adults. And, as with diabetic retinopathy, the longer you have had diabetes, the greater your risk of getting glaucoma. Glaucoma may be treated with medications, laser surgery, or conventional surgery.
I work on a computer all day. Can this hurt my eyes?
Computer monitors emit levels of radiation that are considerably lower than the maximum allowed for safety, according to a study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. NIOSH compared the maximum radiation levels in a group of monitors with the safety standards.
A study of monitors reported in the Optical Laboratories Association CLEARVisions magazine found that:
Ultraviolet: more than 1,000 times below the standard
Visible: more than 10 times below the standard
- Electrical Field: 5,000 V/meter2 of 377,000 allowed
- Magnetic Field: .09 A/meter2 of 2.65 allowed
Extremely Low Frequency: equal to common household appliances, well below dangerous levels (no standard exists)
Can you tell me what's wrong with my eyes?
Sorry, but no. It's not that we don't want to help you, but it would be irresponsible to try to diagnose your problem without examining your eyes. However, we do have some tips:
If you are having any kind of problem, the first thing you should do is schedule an appointment with your eye doctor to discuss your symptoms.
Before your appointment, you might want to use our our symptom finder to research your symptoms. Also try the site search.
If you suspect a specific problem or disease, read more about it in our Eye Problems & Diseasessection.
My doctor refused to give me my contact lens prescription. Is this legal?
Until recently, laws on this issue varied from state to state in the United States. Some eye doctors felt that if they gave out contact lens prescriptions, some of their patients would stop going in for regular eye exams. These check-ups are important, because they not only detect prescription changes, but they can also catch serious diseases in their early, more treatable stages.
But in February 2004 a federal law went into effect that gave all U.S. consumers the right to have a copy of their contact lens prescription, without even asking for it. Find out more about this contact lens legislation and what it means to you.
Can diabetic retinopathy be treated?
Yes. Your eye care professional may suggest laser surgery in which a strong light beam is aimed onto the retina.
Laser surgery and appropriate followup care can reduce the risk of blindness by 90 percent. However, laser surgery often cannot restore vision that has already been lost, which is why finding diabetic retinopathy early is the best way to prevent vision loss.