Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetes mellitus is the most common cause of blindness in people younger than 65 years of age and one of the leading causes of permanent decreased vision.

An estimated 41 million people in the United States alone, 40% of which are adults ranging in age of 40 – 74 years, have “pre-diabetes,” a condition that significantly increases their risk of developing diabetes.

High blood sugars and abnormalities in metabolism in diabetes mellitus may damage the blood vessels in the retina. Some of the most sensitive tissues to decreased blood flow and oxygen delivery include the brain, the heart, the kidneys and the eyes.

Treatment

Surgical treatment of a diabetic eye disease most commonly involves treatment of the retina with an argon laser.

  • For Background Diabetic Retinopathy, Focal / Macular photocoagulation or grid macular photocoagulation is performed.
  • During treatment for Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy, the entire retina except for the center, is treated with a laser to decrease the leaking of blood vessels and growth of unwanted new blood vessels.
  • If extensive growth of new blood vessels, extensive scar tissue formation, tractional retinal detachment, or severe bleeding inside the eye has occurred, a vitrectomy is performed. In some instances, a vitrectomy combined with laser treatment and/or retinal detachment surgery is required.

Contact us to learn more about your treatment options.

The FAQ's of Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes, caused by high blood sugar levels damaging the back of the eye (retina). It can cause blindness if left undiagnosed and untreated.

Early on in diabetic retinopathy, blood vessels in the retina can bulge and leak into the macula. This can cause the macula to swell (doctors call that “edema”), which can make your vision get fuzzy or wavy.

Diabetic retinopathy is an eye condition that causes changes to the blood vessels in the part of your eye called the retina. That's the lining at the back of your eye that changes light into images. The blood vessels can swell, leak fluid, or bleed, which often leads to vision changes or blindness.

Low blood sugar can also cause blurred vision and even double vision. While high blood sugar can change the shape of the lens in your eye, low blood sugar doesn't and this particular vision issue can be corrected sooner by getting your blood sugar back to normal from a meal or snack.

You can reduce your risk of developing diabetic retinopathy, or help stop it getting worse, by keeping your blood sugar levels, blood pressure and cholesterol levels under control. This can often be done by making healthy lifestyle choices, although some people will also need to take medication.

Blurred vision is a common sign of diabetes that isn't under control. When blood sugar levels are high for a long time, body water is pulled into the lens, causing it to swell. It will take about six weeks, after getting blood sugar levels closer to normal, for the swelling to go away completely.

Surgical treatment of a diabetic eye disease most commonly involves treatment of the retina with an argon laser.

  • For Background Diabetic Retinopathy, Focal / Macular photocoagulation or grid macular photocoagulation is performed.
  • During treatment for Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy, the entire retina except for the center, is treated with a laser to decrease the leaking of blood vessels and growth of unwanted new blood vessels.
  • If extensive growth of new blood vessels, extensive scar tissue formation, tractional retinal detachment, or severe bleeding inside the eye has occurred, a vitrectomy is performed. In some instances, a vitrectomy combined with laser treatment and/or retinal detachment surgery is required.