Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy
We Manage Ocular Disease
Diabetic retinopathy is a complication caused by diabetes, type 1 and type 2, which impacts your eyes. When blood sugar levels run high over a long period of time, the blood vessels of your retina may be damaged. If undetected or untreated, this damage may lead to vision loss or blindness as the disease progresses. At Visionary Eye Care, serving patients from Paterson, NJ, we are knowledgeable in caring for this ocular disease so that you enjoy lasting, quality vision for as long as possible.
In the early stages of diabetic retinopathy, there may be no symptoms experienced by the patient. If you have diabetes, this underscores the importance of visiting our Paterson eye doctor for regular comprehensive eye exams. The less controlled your blood glucose levels are and the longer you have diabetes – the greater your risk of developing retinopathy.
After retinopathy advances to a later stage, the following symptoms may appear in both eyes:
Dark or empty spots in your field of sight
Spots or strings floating in your vision
Poor color vision
Eyesight that fluctuates
Loss of vision
If you notice any of these symptoms, or other sudden changes in your vision, contact our Paterson eye care office for guidance.
How is the Retina Damaged?
Excess sugar in your bloodstream may cause the tiny blood vessels in your eye to become blocked, which prevents smooth circulation to your retina. In response, the eye tries to grow new blood vessels – yet they are weaker than normal and tend to leak.
Two Types of Retinopathy
Early diabetic retinopathy is the more common type of the disease, also called nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR). In this form, new blood vessels are not developing. Rather, the walls of your retinal blood vessels aren’t strong enough and they leak blood and fluid into the retina. Inflammation of retinal nerve fibers may also occur.
Advanced proliferative diabetic retinopathy, which is more severe, happens when the disease progresses. It is characterized by closed blood vessels and new, abnormal vessels in the retina that lead into the central region of your eye. With time, scar tissue in your eye may lead to retinal detachment, or to increased fluid pressure and glaucoma.
Diagnosis of Diabetic Retinopathy
Our qualified optometrist in Paterson, Dr. Jeanine E. Graves, will inspect your eyes thoroughly with a dilated eye examination. An OCT (optical coherence tomography) scan may also be used to generate a detailed image of your retina, which allows us to track changes in your eye health over repeat exams.
Treatment at Fair Lawn Optometrist
Mild non-proliferative retinopathy may not be treated immediately, depending upon the results of your eye evaluation and the professional, experienced judgement of Dr. Graves. Yet, we will instruct you to come in for regular exams in order to monitor your condition. Improving blood sugar control can generally slow down or stop the progression of early diabetic retinopathy. It’s critical to be in touch with your endocrinologist or primary care physician to help with your personal diabetes management.
Proliferative diabetic retinopathy usually requires immediate surgery. Focal laser procedures to reduce or halt the leaking of blood and fluid are a typical surgical treatment. Our Paterson, NJ, optometrists may recommend this surgery as an effective way to prevent future vision loss. Other laser treatments include Scatter laser surgery, which helps to shrink abnormal blood vessels.
A vitrectomy may be done to replace the gel in your inner eye. If this procedure is needed, it is performed in a hospital or surgical center, under general or local anesthesia.
New, promising medications are on the horizon, including injections to prevent the formation of abnormal blood vessels and to treat swelling. At present, these are still under research.
Even when surgery successfully slows or ends the progression of diabetic retinopathy, it’s not a permanent cure. Future damage to your eyes is still a possibility, and regular eye exams will need to be done to keep close watch on your ocular health. Maintaining proper blood glucose control also goes far towards preventing a need for addition eye treatment in the future.
We are trained to detect and manage the effects of diabetes on your eyes and vision. If you have diabetes, please call to schedule an eye exam with our Paterson eye doctor.