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Schaeffer Eye Center
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DIABETIC RETINOPATHY

SYMPTOMS

Diabetic Retinopathy, and other eye conditions associated with diabetes, can produce symptoms such as:

  • Vision loss
  • Poor night vision
  • Colors seem faded or noticeably different
  • Eye pain
  • Double vision
  • Fluctuating vision
  • Cataracts
  • Floaters or spots
  • Blurry/Distorted vision
  • Shadow in your field of view
  • Slow healing wounds from corneal abrasions

For people with diabetes, regularly scheduled eye exams are very important, even if you aren't experiencing any symptoms. It's best to detect Diabetic Retinopathy in its earliest stages to prevent any permanent vision damage.

TREATMENTS

Keeping strict control over your blood sugar level is by far the best preventative treatment. Diabetic Retinopathy treatments normally won't restore vision or cure the disease, but it can slow the progression of vision loss/damage. Without any type of treatment, Diabetic Retinopathy will steadily progress into a severe case along with severe loss of vision. The following are current treatments of Diabetic Retinopathy:

  • Laser Surgery - Multiple laser treatments over time may be needed.
  • Vitrectomy Surgery - A microscope and small surgical equipment remove blood and scar tissue associated with any abnormal new vessels, allowing light rays to focus on the retina once again.
  • Medication Injections - Injections may be given once or sometimes as a series of injections at regular intervals.
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For people with diabetes, regularly scheduled eye exams are very important.

Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) is the most common diabetic eye disease.

The condition occurs when the blood vessels in the eyes change. The retina is the thin layer of tissue on the back of the eye that receives light signals. These signals are sent to the brain where they become the images we see. In early stages vessels can swell and leak fluid, or shut themselves off completely. In more advanced stages of diabetic changes, new blood vessels form that are more likely to leak and cause problems. With Diabetic Retinopathy usually both eyes are affected, and often people don’t notice any vision changes in the early stages. However, with progression of the disease, vision loss may occur and in many cases cannot be corrected.

CAUSES

With diabetes, your body has abnormal changes in the blood sugar that is usually converted into fuel for normal bodily functions. If left untreated, diabetes permits high amounts of blood sugar to accumulate in the blood vessels. When this accumulation happens it causes damage that interferes with blood flow to the body’s organs, which includes the eyes. Specifically with the eyes, damage occurs when the vessels in the eye’s retina become clogged or swollen. Over time the swollen blood vessels can close off completely causing abnormal new growth of blood vessels. The growth of new vessels on the retina, can actually cause damage to the retina by causing retinal detachment.

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