Diabetic retinopathy is a diabetic condition that damages the retina which is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. If not treated early, diabetic retinopathy can lead to blindness. Let's address some of the frequently asked questions about diabetic retinopathy from our patients at Meridian Eye Care in Yankton, SD.
What Is Diabetic Retinopathy?
Diabetes destroys the tiny blood vessels inside the retina, resulting in diabetic retinopathy. These damaged blood vessels can leak fluid or even rupture. In some cases, abnormal new blood vessels grow on the retina which can create additional problems.
What Causes Diabetic Retinopathy?
High blood sugar levels damage the blood vessels in the retina, resulting in diabetic retinopathy. Your body attempts to establish new blood vessels, but they are faulty and do not function correctly.
Who Is at Risk for Diabetic Retinopathy?
Type 1 diabetes patients have the highest risk, followed by type 2 diabetic patients. If you have specific medical issues, such as high blood pressure or elevated blood pressure, you are at a higher risk.
What Are the Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy?
Many age-related eye conditions, including diabetic retinopathy, have no early symptoms. This is one reason why comprehensive dilated eye exams are so important, especially for people with diabetes. As the disease progresses, you may notice the following symptoms:
- Blurred vision
- Floaters or spots in your vision
- Irregular patterns of light and dark in your vision
- Increased light sensitivity
How Is Diabetic Retinopathy Diagnosed?
Dilated eye exams are the only way to accurately identify diabetic retinopathy. Eye drops are used to dilate or enlarge your pupils during the assessment. This allows the eye doctor to examine the interior of your eyes for signs of diabetic retinopathy and other eye health issues.
How Is Diabetic Retinopathy Treated?
If you have mild nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy, treatment is not always needed. However, you will need to have regular comprehensive dilated eye exams so that the eye doctor can monitor your condition. If the condition progresses, treatment may be needed to prevent vision loss. Treatment for more advanced diabetic retinopathy aims to prevent or slow the progression of vision loss. There are several different treatment options, including:
- Intraocular injections are used to prevent the growth of new blood vessels.
- Laser surgery is used to destroy abnormal blood vessels and prevent the growth of new ones.
- Vitrectomy removes the blood that has leaked into the center of the eye.
Make an Appointment with Our Optometrists in Yankton, SD
At Meridian Eye Care, we diagnose and treat an array of eye conditions for patients of all ages. We encourage you to get routine eye exams to screen for eye diseases. Call our team today at (605) 665-8688 or reach us through our website by using our online contact form.