Diabetic Retinopathy

Millions of people in the US and around the world suffer from diabetes. This dangerous inability to manage blood sugar can do a great deal of damage to the body, including a potentially blinding disease called diabetic retinopathy. This disorder affects the retina, the light-collecting tissue in the back of the eye. With diabetic retinopathy, the eye sustains permanent damage from elevated, uncontrolled blood sugar.

How We Treat It

Causes
As the name suggests, diabetic retinopathy is caused by diabetes. Diabetes may be congenital, but many people are diagnosed with the disease later in life. In addition to genetics, diabetes may be caused by obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, poor diet, hormonal abnormalities, and pancreatic disease. When left untreated, you may develop diabetic retinopathy.
Stages
If you have diabetic retinopathy, you may be given little warning that your retinal tissues are being damaged. As the blood vessels beneath the macula, a part of your retina that controls central vision, become weakened they may bulge and break causing macular swelling. If this happens you may experience “floaters”, blind spots in your vision, or blurry vision. As the disease progresses, your eye hastily manufactures new blood vessels, which leads to increased bleeding in the eye. If your diabetic retinopathy goes untreated, it may lead to catastrophic vision loss.
Treatment
Early diagnosis and treatment of diabetic retinopathy can make all the difference in preventing damage to your eyesight. Our eye doctors and vision care specialists routinely look for signs of diabetic retinopathy during your annual comprehensive eye exam. An important treatment for diabetic retinopathy is gaining control over diabetes itself, so we work closely with your primary care physician to develop a treatment plan. We may also prescribe medication to reduce swelling and prevent additional blood vessels from forming.

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