Diabetic retinopathy is a leading cause of blindness in American adults. It is a complication of diabetes that weakens the blood vessels that supply nourishment to the retina, which is the light-sensitive lining in the back of the eye where vision is focused. These weak vessels can leak, swell or grow abnormally, causing loss of vision. Changes to vision may not be noticeable initially. As the disease advances, however, it can cause blurred, distorted or cloudy vision; floaters and blind spots; and eventually blindness. This damage is irreversible.
Medications, following a prescribed diet, regular exercise, controlling blood pressure, and avoiding alcohol and cigarettes can reduce the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. Early onset of the disease can be detected through a dilated eye exam. Routine eye exams are, therefore, a critical aspect of diabetic care.
Diabetic retinopathy can be treated to slow its progression and prevent further loss of vision. Treatment modalities include intravitreal injections, laser, and surgical procedures.
Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment
Focal laser may be recommended if swelling of the central retina (macula edema) causes loss of vision. The laser coagulates or dries up the fluid that is causing the swelling. A similar procedure called scatter laser photocoagulation, also known as Pan-Retinal Photocoagulation (PRP), destroys abnormal blood vessel growth in patients with Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (PDR).
Various medications can be injected into the vitreous cavity of the eye to treat diabetic macular swelling or abnormal blood vessel growth.
Sometimes, diabetic retinopathy produces debris in the vitreous cavity or abnormal blood vessel growth that must be removed. This surgical procedure is known as a Vitrectomy and is often combined with an intra-operative laser.
The doctors at Metro Eye Care have extensive experience in the treatment of these conditions and can offer patients the latest, most advanced treatments to help preserve vision and overall quality of life. To learn more about our services, call us today to schedule an appointment.