Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic Retinopathy is an eye disease that can affect people with diabetes. Regular eye exams are important for early detection and treatment. If left untreated, Diabetic Retinopathy can cause permanent vision loss.

Treatment for Diabetic Eye Disease in West Central Ohio

The eye doctors at Valley Eye Institute are dedicated to preserving the vision and caring for the eye health of patients in West Central Ohio. Our diabetic eye care specialists are experienced in diagnosing and managing Diabetic Retinopathy. If you are seeking high-quality care for diabetic eye disease, contact us in Sidney, Bellefontaine, Piqua, or Troy, Ohio.

What is Diabetic Retinopathy?

eye exam for middle aged woman

The retina is located in the back of your eye and is made of light-sensitive cells. When functioning properly, the retina processes light to the optic nerve to create visual images. Diabetic Retinopathy, which is caused by high levels of blood sugar, damages the blood cells that nourish the retina. Diabetic Retinopathy affects more than six million Americans and it is a leading cause of vision loss among adults under 60.1

Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy

Patients with early stage Diabetic Retinopathy often experience no symptoms. It is important to have regular eye exams even if you have no symptoms because up to 90% of permanent vision loss caused by this disease can be prevented with early detection and treatment.2 Symptoms of later stage Diabetic Retinopathy include:

Risk Factors for Diabetic Retinopathy

People with Type 1 Diabetes, Type 2 Diabetes, or Gestational Diabetes are at risk of developing Diabetic Retinopathy and risk increases the longer you live with diabetes. Additional risk factors include:

Types or Stages of Diabetic Retinopathy

Nonproliferative Diabetic Retinopathy

Nonproliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (NPDR) is sometimes called Background Diabetic Retinopathy because it encompasses the earliest stages of the disease. In NPDR retinal blood vessels become narrowed and unable to carry enough oxygen to the retinal tissue. Microaneurysms represent small areas of weakening in the diseased blood vessels that tend to leak and bleed easily, thus resulting in focal areas of retinal swelling and deposits in the retina called hard exudates.

Patients with mild, moderate, or even severe NPDR may not experience symptoms even as the retina sustains damage; this is why it is so important for anyone with diabetes to receive regular monitoring from an experienced eye doctor.

Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy

Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (PDR) is the advanced stage which is characterized by more significant blood vessel abnormalities and leaking. The body tries to repair the damage to the retinal blood vessels by forming new blood vessels. However, these abnormal blood vessels are fragile and can break and cause dangerous leakage in the eye.

Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy

The treatment plan for Diabetic Retinopathy may vary from simple observation to intervention with retinal laser treatments or even referral to a retinal specialist in complicated forms of the disease.

Frequently Asked Questions About Diabetic Retinopathy

How is Diabetic Retinopathy Diagnosed?

Annual dilated eye exams are important because they allow your eye doctor to examine the back of your eye where your retina is. Your eye doctor may also use diagnostic tools such as fluorescein angiography to detect blood vessel abnormalities.

Can Diabetic Retinopathy lead to other eye complications?

Yes, Diabetic Retinopathy can contribute to other eye conditions, such as Neovascular Glaucoma, Macular Edema, and Retinal Detachment.

Can I prevent Diabetic Retinopathy?

You may be able to prevent Diabetic Retinopathy by controlling your blood pressure through a healthy diet, exercise and medication on the advice of your physician. Regular eye exams are important even if your blood pressure is controlled.

Contact Valley Eye Institute

1 National Eye Institute. Diabetic Retinopathy Data and Statistics. Available: https://www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-eye-health/outreach-campaigns-and-resources/eye-health-data-and-statistics/diabetic-Retinopathy-data-and-statistics Accessed August 4, 2021
2 American Academy of Ophthalmology. Diabetic Eye Disease. Available: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/diabetic-eye-disease Accessed August 4, 2021
3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Diabetes and Vision Loss. Available: https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/managing/diabetes-vision-loss.html Accessed August 4, 2021
4 American Academy of Ophthalmology. Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment. Available: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/diabetic-Retinopathy-treatment Accessed August 4, 2021

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