Q: What is diabetic retinopathy?
A: Diabetic retinopathy is a condition which can occur at any stage or type of diabetes. In fact, many times diabetes is identified during an eye exam in a person who never suspected they may have diabetes. It is caused by damage to the very delicate blood vessels within the retina. Over time, these blood vessels may start to leak blood and fluid into the retina or other areas of the eye. If the condition progresses, new vessels may begin to grow within the retina, which places the retina at risk of additional and sometimes sudden complications including internal bleeds and retinal detachment.
Q: How does high blood pressure affect vision?
A: If the blood pressure is very high it can be called malignant hypertension and cause swelling of the macula and acute loss of vision. Otherwise hypertension can cause progressive constriction of the arterioles in the eye and other findings. Usually high blood pressure alone will not affect vision much, 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 nerve of the eye that can severely affect 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. 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.