Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of new blindness in adults. In most cases, vision loss from diabetes can be prevented or restored if caught in time. Diabetics should have a routine eye exam at least once a year. Clear vision does not mean that diabetic eye disease is absent.
Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes caused by changes in blood vessels of the eye. Retinal blood vessels can be easily damaged, resulting in leakage and blockage of blood and fluids. In response, the retina can grow new, fragile blood vessels known as proliferative diabetic retinopathy. Unfortunately, these new blood vessels grow on the surface of the retina where they cannot resupply it with blood. Occasionally, they can lead to a vitreous hemorrhage. Blood in the vitreous blocks light from reaching the retina. A small amount of blood will cause dark floaters, while a hemorrhage might block all vision, leaving only light and dark perception. New blood vessels can also create scar tissue. As a blood vessel shrinks, it can pull on the retina, and distort vision. In severe cases, the macula may detach and cause further vision loss.
Laser surgery can lead to regression of the abnormal retinal blood vessels, reducing the risk of bleeding as well as treating areas with retinal fluid leakage. If a vitreous hemorrhage does not clear or if a retinal detachment is detected, further surgery is usually required.
No symptoms until it is too late
People with diabetic retinopathy sometimes have no symptoms until the disease is far progressed. The retina may be badly injured before there is any change in vision. Considerable evidence suggests that rigorous control of blood sugar decreases the chance of developing serious diabetic retinopathy, but early detection is critical. Early stage diabetic eye disease, known as background diabetic retinopathy, can also suggest early vascular disease in the heart, kidneys, brain and lower extremities.
Giulio Diamante, MD, uses the latest diagnostic technology and treatment for diabetic retinopathy. He and his team of eyecare professionals offer comprehensive, personalized eyecare that addresses your concerns. Our well-trained staff and surgical coordinators will work closely with you to answer any questions. To learn how a world-class eyecare team delivers the best results with diabetic eye disease, use our online Request an Appointment form or call the most trusted name in eyecare -Giulio Diamante, MD & Associates – at 401.521.3606.