Diabetic Retinopathy: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
People with diabetes are at risk of an eye disease called diabetic retinopathy. This occurs when changes in blood glucose levels cause changes in the blood vessels of the retina. In some cases, these vessels will swell up and start to leak fluid into the rear of the eye (macular edema). In other cases, abnormal blood vessels start to form on the surface of the retina. Left untreated, all of these changes can lead to loss of vision.
Today, this eye disease is the most frequent cause of new cases of blindness among adults aged 20–74 years according to the American Diabetes Association. The risk of developing diabetic retinopathy has been known to increase with age, as well as with less controlled blood sugar and blood pressure level. If you are diabetic, please contact Illumineyes Vision Care today to schedule a consultation. We welcome patients from Nashua, Merrimack, Hudson, Lowell, and Tyngsborough.
Signs and Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy
In many cases, the early stages are nearly undetectable. Common symptoms can include:
- Double or blurred vision
- Difficulty reading or performing close-up tasks
- Eye floaters and spots
- Eye pain or discomfort
- Involuntary eye movement
- Development of a shadow effect in your field of view
During an eye exam at Illumineyes Vision Care, our optometrist will look for signs of retinal damage, such as retinal swelling or leakage from blood vessels.
This eye disease usually progresses from mild abnormalities, including increased vascular permeability, to moderate or severe nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR). This is the early stage of the condition and can occur at any time following the onset of diabetes. It can then progress to proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR), characterized by the closure of weakened blood vessels and the growth of new ones on the retina. Left unchecked, this stage holds the greatest risk of vision loss.
Treating Diabetic Retinopathy
While there are a number of treatment options available today, the most effective is prevention. That’s why it is important to detect it in its early stages and intervene before it progresses any further. For those who are diabetic, it is often a good idea to schedule a complete eye exam to assess your ocular health, at least once a year.
Here at Illumineyes Vision Care, we can address diabetic retinopathy with treatments such as:
- Injected medication, such as Lucentis, Eylea and Avastin.
- Vitrectomy, which involves the removal of the vitreous gel from the eye is affecting the retina or that has been contaminated. This gel is then replaced with a clear fluid.
- Laser retina treatment, which seals the leaking blood vessels and eliminates the abnormal ones, to prevent further growth or spread.
During your initial visit, our top optometrist, Dr. Christopher Daldine will assess and recommend a plan that is right for you.
You can also practice self care by:
- Maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise routine
- Monitoring your blood pressure and blood sugar to keep both under control
- Managing any related conditions, such as hypertension.
Schedule Your Appointment Today!
If you are diabetic, don’t postpone your eye care any longer. Schedule your appointment today at Illumineyes Vision Care by calling (603) 598-1620 or by filling out our request form