Diagnosis and Treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy
If you have any type of diabetes, including Type 1, Type 2, and gestational diabetes, you are at risk for diabetic retinopathy. It is the leading cause of vision loss in people with diabetes and in working-age adults. Diabetic retinopathy is damage to the blood vessels in the retina of the eye. It is caused by chronically high blood sugar. When the blood vessels are damaged, they can leak blood and fluid and they do not carry enough oxygen and nutrients to the eye.
Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy
You may not experience any early symptoms of diabetic retinopathy. Regular eye exams are crucial to preserving your vision if you have diabetes because early treatment can prevent damage to your retina.
- Problems with central vision, often most noticeable when driving or reading. The object you are looking directly at is difficult to see even though surrounding objects are clear.
- Difficulty with fine work such as sewing or removing splinters
- Difficulty with night driving
- Loss of color vision
- Blurry vision or vision that looks hazy or foggy
- Holes in your vision
- Floaters – dark spots, strings, or cobwebs in your vision
- Double vision
- Fluctuating vision
- Vision loss
In advanced diabetic retinopathy, retinal detachment can occur. Retinal detachment is a medical emergency. Symptoms include:
- Sudden shower of floaters
- Flashes of light, often in peripheral vision
- Watery vision
- It looks like a curtain or veil has been pulled across your vision. Often your peripheral vision.
Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment
Treatments can stop or slow the progression of diabetic retinopathy. They are not cures and you will need to continue regular monitoring as well as keeping your blood sugar controlled. Treatments include:
- Photocoagulation, also called focal laser treatment, seals or destroys the abnormal or leaking blood vessels.
- Panretinal photocoagulation, also called scatter laser treatment, shrinks abnormal blood vessels outside of the retina.
- Vitrectomy removes blood that has leaked into the liquid of the eye and can remove scar tissue that is tugging on the retina.
To learn more about diabetic retinopathy, please consult with an ophthalmologist in your area.