Q: What is diabetic retinopathy?
A: Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is an eye disease that can occur at any stage and with any type of diabetes. In fact, sometimes diabetes is identified during an eye exam in a person who never suspected it. It is caused by damage to the very delicate blood vessels within the retina at the back of the eye. As DR progresses, these blood vessels may start to leak blood and fluid into the retina or other areas of the eye, and new vessels may begin to grow within the retina, which can cause vision loss, and sudden complications including internal bleeds and retinal detachment.
Q: How does high blood pressure affect vision?
A: High blood pressure alone does not usually affect vision directly, however hypertension is a known risk factor in the onset and/or progression of other eye disease, such as glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and macular degeneration, as well as blocked veins and arteries in the retina or nerves of the eye that can severely affect vision. In malignant hypertension, very high blood pressure can damage organs, and may cause swelling of the macula and acute loss of vision.
Q: What should I do if I have a red eye that is not getting better?
A: This should be checked immediately, as not all red eyes are caused by infections or allergies. Although rare, some red eyes may be due to an increase in eye pressure, which can lead to blindness. Others may be caused by internal eye inflammation which can lead to vision loss as well. We recommend that ALL red eyes be evaluated, since the exact cause needs to be professionally determined.
Q: When should I have my children’s eyes examined?
A: Parents often wonder when to schedule their children for an eye exam. According to the American Optometric Association, eye exams should be performed at 6 months, 3 years of age, and before starting first grade. At Texas State Optical, we participate in InfantSEE which offers an eye exam for children ages 6 to 12 months at no charge. It is important to let us know if you notice any problems with your child’s eyes such as squinting, closing one eye, one eye turning in, or excessive blinking. Our office offers frames to fit children of all ages and many prescriptions are eligible for same day glasses.