FAQs About Diabetic Retinopathy

Home Health Care in Charlotte NC: Questions About Diabetic Retinopathy

Home Health Care in Charlotte NC: Questions About Diabetic Retinopathy

There are a number of eye diseases that can affect an elderly person severely if they don’t have an annual eye exam to detect the problems early.  Some of the most common age-related eye diseases include cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.  When seniors have been managing diabetes for a while, their chances of developing diabetic retinopathy increase greatly.  In fact, studies show that a large percentage of elderly diabetics have some stage of diabetic retinopathy.


Here are some frequently asked questions that family caregivers have about diabetic retinopathy:


Q: What exactly is diabetic retinopathy?
A: In diabetics, the blood sugar can fluctuate quite a bit. This fluctuation can cause damage to small blood vessels, such as those in the eyes. Leakage and swelling are common in these blood vessels, and all that activity strains the retinas. Between leaks and new blood vessels trying to establish themselves, the retina’s work is interrupted and the person’s vision is affected.


Q: Who is at risk for diabetic retinopathy?
A: People who have been dealing with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes for many years are at the highest risk for developing the condition. Also, those with a history of high blood pressure and other eye diseases may also have an increased risk.


Q: What are the early symptoms of diabetic retinopathy?
A: Actually, there are relatively few symptoms of the disease in the early stages. The elderly person won’t notice a decrease in vision, and won’t experience any telltale signs that anything is different. Family caregivers and home care assistants will also not be able to tell that anything is wrong, as observers to the elderly person. It’s only after the blood vessels in the eyes have caused problems for months to years that a decrease in vision is ever noticed.


Q: How is early detection possible?
A: An eye doctor can look at the elderly person’s eyes using special equipment during an eye exam. This up-close checkup can reveal the early warning signs of diabetic retinopathy and trigger a treatment plan that will be effective in preserving the senior’s vision.


Q: How is diabetic retinopathy treated?
A: The eye doctor will prescribe a combination of treatments that may include medication, corticosteroid injections, surgery and other procedures to reduce the swelling in the blood vessels, stop leakage and preserve the retinas. Managing the diabetes is another key part of stopping the progression of diabetic retinopathy. Depending on the condition and severity of the eyes, the eye doctor will work up a plan to maximize treatment options.


Q: How often should seniors with diabetes get an eye exam?
A: Seniors with diabetes should get an eye exam at least once a year. If the eye doctor recommends a more frequent exam schedule, then it’s a good idea to follow that advice. Family caregivers that aren’t familiar with diabetic retinopathy may feel that since their elderly loved one isn’t complaining about any vision problems, everything must be fine. However, it’s impossible for a family caregiver, home care assistant or the elderly person themselves to tell whether they have the condition or not.

If you or someone you know needs home health care in Charlotte, NC, contact the caregivers at Affordable HomeCare.  We provide quality and affordable care for many disabled and elderly loved-ones in our community.
Call us at (704) 323-5454 for more information.


About Ted Nagraba

I am the Owner of Affordable HomeCare of Charlotte, North Carolina. Affordable HomeCare provides an alternative to the traditional solutions of nursing homes or other retirement institutions. Now, even with physical limitations, you can live the most independent and enjoyable life possible. With our personalized live-in or hourly care, you can continue to live in the comfort of your own home.