Diabetic Retinopathy

Are you or a family member or friend Diabetic? Did you know that Diabetes Mellitus can cause blindness? While Diabetes affects the entire eye and can contribute to Glaucoma, Cataracts, and Dry Eyes, did you know it can also cause irreversible damage to your retina, the light-sensitive nerve layer at the back of your eye?

We call this Diabetic Retinopathy. It is a leading cause of blindness in American Adults. For this reason, the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends an annual exam for all Diabetics (Type 1, starting after 5 yrs of disease. Type 2, starting at diagnosis).


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After 15 years of disease, 98% of Type 1 Diabetics have some degree of retinopathy, and 78% of Type 2 Diabetics have some degree of damage to the retina. The disease affects the blood vessels of the retina, making the vessel walls weak so that they may leak or burst and cause retinal damage including: swelling, lack of oxygen, bleeding, new abnormal vessel growth, scarring, and even retinal detachment.

The longer you have been diabetic, and the less well-controlled the blood sugar, the more likely you are to develop retinopathy. With some Diabetic Retinopathy, you might not notice any symptoms at all, but Diabetes can result in fluctuating vision, blurry vision, dark spots, or floating dark or red lines in your sight.

It is always important to control the blood sugar to help maintain the health of the eye, but once we see a certain level of retinopathy in your eyes, you might also need laser, an injection, or even surgery to save your vision!

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Providing ophthalmology services including treatment for cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy to Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Wheeling, and the surrounding communities.

How often should I visit my ophthalmologist?

If you have a history of eye disease, we recommend making regular appointments and following up as your ophthalmologist advises. Call now for more information or to schedule an appointment.

How do I know if I should schedule an ophthalmologist appointment?

If you are having eye discomfort or trouble with your vision, schedule an appointment with your ophthalmologist. Health conditions, like high blood pressure or diabetes, increase your risk for certain diseases. If you have questions or think you might need to see an ophthalmologist, call for more information.

Do your ophthalmologists have tips on how I can protect my eyes?

Don’t forget to wear protective eyewear during activities like mowing the grass, doing construction work, or playing sports. If you wear contacts, take steps to prevent eye infections. Wash your hands before handling your contacts or touching your eyes, and be sure to replace them regularly.

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Dr. Kristi Kozlov

Dr. Kozlov is a Board Certified Ophthalmologist who specializes in Corneal and External Disease, and Comprehensive Eye Care. She has been practicing Ophthalmology for over 20 years and has been practicing in The Northwest Suburbs of Chicago since 2003.

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