Diabetic retinopathy is a condition caused when long-term diabetes affects the functioning of the eyes. It occurs when high blood sugar levels damage the blood vessels in the retina.
The retina is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye, which sends visual signals to the brain. When this condition occurs, a fluid discharge develops in the retina or beneath its tissue, leading to the retina expanding and impacting vision.
In its early stages, diabetic retinopathy may not cause any symptoms, but it can lead to blurred or distorted vision, floaters, or even vision loss as it progresses.
People with diabetes are recommended to have regular eye exams to detect early signs of diabetic retinopathy. Treatment may include medication injections and laser or vitrectomy surgery.
Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy
Diabetic Retinopathy can develop gradually without any noticeable symptoms during its early stages. As it progresses, some signs may start to appear. These include the following:
Diabetic retinopathy is caused by high blood sugar levels in diabetic patients, which damage the small blood vessels in the retina over time. Some specific causes of diabetic retinopathy include:
High blood sugar levels
Duration of diabetes
High blood pressure
Diabetic Retinopathy Diagnosis
Our specialists might ask about your medical or family history of eye diseases during your eye exam. Knowing about your lifestyle and conditions can help determine if you have diabetic retinopathy.
Your ophthalmologist may perform multiple painless and quick tests, including:
Amsler grid test: This test is used to monitor the central visual field that may become distorted due to the macula or optic nerve disorders.
Optical coherence tomography (OCT): This test is used to generate an image from the back of the eye (your retina and optic nerve) and determine if there is anything blocking the amount of light being received.
Fluorescein angiography: This test helps take pictures of your retina. These will help your doctor get a better look at the blood vessels and identify any abnormalities in the back of the eye.
Diabetic Retinopathy Complications
If left untreated, diabetic retinopathy could develop into the following complications:
Vitreous hemorrhage: When your vessels bleed into the clear, jellylike substance that fills the center of your eye (vitreous), it can cause eye floaters or, in more severe cases, completely block your vision.
Retinal detachment: The abnormal blood vessels caused by diabetic retinopathy can cause the retina to pull away from the back of the eye.
Glaucoma: The abnormal blood vessels can cause pressure in the eye to build and damage the optic nerve, which can develop into glaucoma.
Blindness: If any of these conditions aren’t treated properly, it can lead to partial or total vision loss.
Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy
At Eyes NY, we offer a variety of retinal services to suit every patient’s needs. To treat diabetic retinopathy, your doctor may opt for one or more of the following treatment options:
During a vitreoretinal surgery, your eye doctor will remove the vitreous and replace it with another solution. Then, any other issues, like holes in your retina, will be repaired by placing air or other gases into the eye and keeping the retina in place.
This treatment can decrease the chance of developing retinal detachment. Vitreoretinal surgery is a minimally invasive procedure; most patients usually have fast and successful results. Patients should plan on time for recovery after the surgery, since it takes from 2 to 4 weeks to return to regular activities.
Shrinking Blood Vessels
This surgical treatment helps to stop bleeding from blood vessels and can help patients with diabetic retinopathy.
In this case, medication is injected directly into the eye to stop the growth of abnormal blood vessels. This treatment is ideal for people with macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, or broken blood vessels.
Evacuating and Replacing Eye Fluid (Vitrectomy)
During surgery, your doctor will remove the fluid that fills the inside of your eye and will replace it with another solution.
Preventing Diabetic Retinopathy
It is important for diabetic patients to constantly manage their condition to prevent the development of retinal diseases like diabetic retinopathy. Doctors often recommend the following:
Manage your diabetes
Monitor your blood sugar levels
Keep your blood pressure and cholesterol under control
Pay attention to vision changes
Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment in New York
EyesNY offers treatment to help patients dealing with diabetic retinopathy and other retinal problems. Our specialized team of ophthalmologists is ready to assess your needs and give you the high-quality vision care you deserve.
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