Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment: Fighting the Effects of Diabetes on Vision

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Patients who suffer from type 1 or type 2 diabetes should be especially vigilant when it comes to their ocular health. Diabetic retinopathy is a common side effect of diabetes, and our Austin practice provides diagnosis and treatment. This condition causes damage to the blood vessels at the back of the eye. Without monitoring and treatment, diabetic retinopathy can result in complications such as retinal detachment, glaucoma, and blindness. Our doctors can monitor and treat diabetic retinopathy to prevent these complications. Contact us today to learn more.

Causes

It is extremely important for all diabetic patients to take special care in monitoring eye health by scheduling annual eye exams. However, among those patients suffering from diabetes, there are characteristics that put a patient at higher risk for diabetic retinopathy. These risk factors include:

  • Poor blood sugar control
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Pregnancy
  • Smoking

The chances of developing diabetic retinopathy also increases in patients who have suffered from diabetes for an extensive amount of time.

Symptoms

In its early stages, diabetic retinopathy is not likely to produce any noticeable symptoms for patients. However, as the condition progresses, patients may experience any of the following:

  • Blurred vision
  • Erratic vision
  • Dark spots or floaters
  • Decreased color perception
  • Vision loss

Types of Diabetic Retinopathy

There are two types of diabetic retinopathy. Depending on how far the condition has progressed, a patient may suffer from early diabetic retinopathy or advanced diabetic retinopathy.

  • In the early stages of diabetic retinopathy, also known as non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy, no new blood vessels are proliferating, or growing. However, the blood vessels that are present may begin to weaken, leak fluid, or close.
  • Advanced diabetic retinopathy is known as proliferative diabetic retinopathy because at this stage of progression new blood vessels begin to grow in the eye. These blood vessels are abnormal and may leak fluid, create a buildup of pressure in the eye, and cause the growth of scar tissue.

Treating Diabetic Retinopathy

There are different methods for treating diabetic retinopathy and controlling the progression of the disease:

  • Non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy: In the early stages, or non-proliferative phase of diabetic retinopathy, the condition can be managed through careful control of blood sugar levels. However, regular monitoring is also required so that if the condition does progress, treatment can begin.
  • Proliferative diabetic retinopathy: Advanced diabetic retinopathy will require more aggressive treatment in order to prevent eye complications. We offer patients injectable treatment in the form of VEGF inhibitors. There is also laser treatment that can be effective in treating advanced diabetic retinopathy. While we do not perform this laser treatment at Broberg Eye Care, we can refer patients to a local specialist.

Contact our Practice

If you have diabetes, and would like to learn more about controlling diabetic retinopathy and the effects of diabetes on the eye, contact our practice at your earliest convenience. Our doctors can help you maintain your vision.

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