Diabetes affects blood vessels throughout the body, but primarily those in the kidneys and the eyes. When the vessels in the eyes are affected, the condition is called diabetic retinopathy. This is one of the major causes of blindness in the United States.
Diabetic Retinopathy Diagnosis
Diabetic retinopathy leads to changes in existing retinal blood vessels that cause hypoxia (lack of oxygen), which leads to the formation of new blood vessels. These new blood vessels are weak and cannot supply an adequate amount of oxygen to the retinal tissue and, as a result, lead to many complications.
The level of diabetic retinopathy can be classified into non-proliferative retinopathy or proliferative diabetic retinopathy, depending on the extent of these new blood vessels and their effect on the retina. The main reason for vision loss in diabetics is hemorrhaging inside the eye and swelling in the retina (macular edema).
Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment
The treatment of diabetic retinopathy involves retinal laser therapy. If the neovascularization has not been treated and the patient bleeds into the vitreous humor, they may require surgery to remove the blood.
Treatment for this condition includes dietary changes, medication, laser treatment, and most importantly, patient education.
Although the disease is difficult to manage, early detection and prevention play a vital role. Keeping diabetes under control will help reduce the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. All patients, regardless of level of vision or insulin control, require an annual dilated funduscopic examination.
Diabetic Retinopathy Related Links:
Diabetic Retinopathy Care in Dade and Broward Counties
If you suspect you may have diabetic retinopathy or if you have diabetes and want to prevent this condition, visit the experts at Aran Eye Associates. We will use state-of-the-art techniques and equipment to get you a definitive diagnosis and effective treatment. Contact us at (305) 442-2020 to schedule a consultation, or use our convenient online Request an Appointment form to arrange your visit.