Eye Conditions & Treatment
Diabetic Retinopathy - Retinal & Diabetic Eye Care
Due to the faulty processing of sugar by the body, the blood vessels in the eye that nourish the retina begin to deteriorate. For the last 15 years, we’ve been applying the latest advancements made in the field to correct and diminish the effects of this rampant disease.
is diabetic retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes mellitus which causes
abnormalities in the tiny blood vessels nourishing the retina. These vessels
weaken, leak fluid and blood, and fail to provide nutrients necessary
for good health in the retina. Left untreated, diabetic retinopathy can
result in severe visual loss, including blindness.
is the retina?
retina is a thin layer of delicate nerve tissue which lines the back portion
of the eye. Light enters the eye and is focused by the lens through the
transparent gel-like fluid (vitreous) onto the retina. The retina then
changes the image into electric impulses which are carried to the brain
by the optic nerve.
Learn About Diabetic Retinopathy
retina has two main parts - the macula and the peripheral retina. The
macula is located in the middle portion of the retina close to the optic
nerve. The macula is responsible for central vision and color vision.
The peripheral retina is the outer region of the retina and is responsible
for side vision, as well as night vision.
is background diabetic retinopathy?
retinopathy can take two forms, background retinopathy and proliferative
retinopathy. During the early stage of the disease (background retinopathy),
small blood vessels in the retina leak a clear fluid (serum) into the
surrounding tissue which causes swelling. Abnormal blood vessels may also
hemorrhage or leak fats and proteins which form deposits. If fluid collects
in the macula, diminished or blurred vision will result. However, if leakage
or deposits occur in the outer edges of the retina, no symptoms may be
is not usually seriously affected in cases of background retinopathy.
In fact, the condition does not progress in 89% of patients. However,
background retinopathy is a warning sign and can progress into the more
serious stage of the disease, proliferative retinopathy.
is proliferative diabetic retinopathy?
diabetic retinopathy is the more advanced stage of the disease. New abnormal
blood vessels grow over the retina and may grow into the clear vitreous. These new vessels bleed into the vitreous, blocking light from reaching
the retina and causing vision to become cloudy. Connective tissue growing
along with abnormal blood vessels may contract, pulling the retina off
its underlying structures and toward the vitreous (retinal detachment).
retinopathy affects approximately 5% of Type ll diabetics and becomes more
likely with increased duration of diabetes. If left untreated, proliferative
retinopathy can lead to blindness.
is at risk for this disease?
people with diabetes are at risk--those with Type I diabetes (juvenile
onset) and those with Type II diabetes (adult onset).
pregnancy, diabetic retinopathy may also be a problem for women with diabetes.
It is recommended that all pregnant women with diabetes have dilated eye
examinations each trimester to protect their vision.
causes diabetic retinopathy?
cause of diabetic retinopathy is not completely understood. However, it
is known that diabetes weakens small blood vessels in various areas of
the body, including the retina. Unfortunately, the development of diabetic
retinopathy cannot be prevented.
are the symptoms of diabetic retinopathy?
vision may gradually become blurred, significant loss of sight does not
usually occur with background retinopathy. Since the patient does not
experience pain or external symptoms such as blood-shot eyes or discharge,
changes in the retina can go unnoticed unless detected by an eye examination.
bleeding occurs in proliferative retinopathy, the patient has clouding
or complete loss of sight. Connective tissue pulling on the retina causes
distortion and blurring. However, if abnormalities occur in the peripheral
retina, the patient may not experience any symptoms.
How is diabetic retinopathy diagnosed?
comprehensive eye examination is the best protection against the progression
of diabetic retinopathy. The disease can be detected by viewing the retina
with instruments which illuminate and magnify the structures of the eye.
If diabetic retinopathy is found, fluorescent angiography is performed
to determine the extent of blood vessel leakage. In this procedure, a
series of photographs are taken as a dye travels through the retinal vessels.
In some cases, ultrasound equipment may be used to check for retinal detachment.
is diabetic retinopathy treated?
of diabetic retinopathy depends on the location of the disease and the
degree of damage to the retina. If retinopathy occurs in the peripheral
retina, careful monitoring of the disease may be all that is necessary.
When retinopathy affects the macula and central vision, laser treatment
is usually necessary.
cases of background diabetic retinopathy, lasers may be used to seal blood
vessels that have leaked serum. Laser treatment may not halt the disease
entirely but can reduce further visual loss by delaying the onset of proliferative
retinopathy. The proliferative stage of the disease is also treated with
lasers to curtail the growth of new abnormal blood vessels.
treatment of diabetic retinopathy is usually done on an outpatient basis
in an office or outpatient center.
is the best medicine
detection and management of diabetic retinopathy is important to arrest
or slow the development of the more sight damaging stages of the disease.
Even when no symptoms are noticed, the diabetic patient should have frequent
eye examinations, as recommended by their doctor. Non-diabetics should
also have their eyes examined periodically to help detect the presence
of diabetes and other diseases. With careful monitoring, treatment of
diabetic retinopathy can usually be started before sight is affected.
you are experiencing the symptoms of diabetic retinopathy or other vision
problems, you should obtain a complete eye examination. If you have diabetes
mellitus, you should have a dilated eye examination at least once a year
for the rest of your life.