Diabetic Retinopathy

diabetic

Diabetes is a disease that interferes with the body’s ability to use and store sugar, causing health issues throughout the entire body, including the eyes. Diabetic retinopathy is the result of damage to the blood vessels, causing damage to the retina. See diabetic retinopathy facts for additional statistics and data on diabetic retinopathy.

The longer a person has diabetes, the more likely they will develop diabetic retinopathy at some point. The condition typically affects both eyes. If left untreated, it can lead to blindness. In early stages of diabetic retinopathy, your vision is typically not affected. As the disease progresses, blood vessels grow in the retina and attempt to replace the vessels that have been damaged by diabetes. The new vessels grow abnormally, bleed and cause the vision to become hazy. If the vessels grow on the iris, it can progress to glaucoma. Diabetic retinopathy can also cause your body to develop cataracts.

Symptoms

  • Typically no symptoms in early stages
  • Seeing spot or floaters
  • Double vision
  • Blurred vision
  • Difficulty seeing well at night
  • Difficulty reading or doing close work
  • Severe vision loss if untreated

If you experience any of these symptoms, call at 866-340-EYES to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.

Causes

Diabetes – patients with diabetes are at risk for developing diabetic retinopathy, but not everyone will develop it. Keeping your blood sugar levels under control, exercising and getting an annual eye exam are required for patients with diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy typically occurs in patients who have had diabetes for over 10 years.

Diagnosing

Because there are no symptoms in the early stages of diabetic retinopathy, vision typically will not change until the disease becomes worsens. This is why regular examinations for diabetes are imperative.

Dr Adelson will perform a complete eye exam and test visual acuity, evaluation of the retina, check eye pressures and evaluate patient history. Dr. Adelson will then do fluorescein angiography where he injected dye called Fluorescein into a vein in the arm. The dye will travel through the body to the blood vessels in the retina. Dr. Adelson will take photographs to evaluate the abnormal or new blood vessel growth.

Treatment

In early stages, regular monitoring is the only treatment necessary. Dr. Adelson will advise that you follow a strict diet and exercise program to control sugar and help control the progression of the disease.

Pan-retinal photocoagulation/PRP

Laser treatment is used to stop the leakage of the blood and fluid into the retina. A laserbeam of light is used to crete small burns in the areas of the retina with abnormal vessels to seal the retina and stop vessels from growing and leaking. The laser is used to get rid of the areas of retina where blood vessels have been closed. When these areas are treated PRP, the retina stops making new blood vessels and those vessels already present will decrease or even disappear.

Our goal with pan-retinal photocoagulation is to prevent the new vessels from forming on the retina. There is no improvement in vision loss after this treatment.

If your body has formed cataracts due to diabetic retinopathy, they can be treated through cataract surgery