What is Diabetic Retinopathy?
If you have diabetes, it’s especially important to pay particularly close attention to your vision. Diabetic retinopathy occurs when high blood sugar causes damage to the blood vessels within the retina. It’s estimated that approximately 40% of all diabetics have at least mild diabetic retinopathy.
Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy
Since early diabetic retinopathy has few, if any symptoms, an annual, complete medical examination with pupils dilated is very important to the visual health and well being of every diabetic patient.
There are two basic categories of diabetic retinopathy. The first is non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy where the blood vessels in the retina become weaker and more porous. Some small blood vessels (capillaries) may become blocked and have small bulges on their weakened walls. These small bulges, called micro aneurysms, can leak excess fluid into the retina. The result is mild to severe blurred vision.
The second category is proliferative diabetic retinopathy marked by the growth of new and very weak blood vessels. These blood vessels can easily rupture and bleed into the vitreous gel that fills the eye, blocking vision. Scar tissue may also form, shrinking and pulling on the retina causing a traction retinal detachment. Although uncommon, severe vision loss or even total blindness can occur under these circumstances.
Treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy
With proper treatment, the risk of vision loss from diabetic retinopathy is 50% less. Early diagnosis and treatment is especially important. At Yaldo Eye Center, our board-certified ophthalmologists use laser treatment to seal ruptured blood vessels and prevent further leakage. In some cases, when laser treatment is not adequate, traditional surgery may be an alternative to remove the blood and scar tissue.
If you are concerned about any diabetes-related eye problems, the experienced ophthalmologists at Yaldo Eye Center will be happy to discuss potential solutions and develop an individual treatment plan for you.