Diabetic Eye Care

couple1-senior-eyeglasses.jpgDiabetic retinopathy is a common condition among those with diabetes, and can lead to severe eye and vision damage if not properly diagnosed or treated. At Eye Surgeons Associates, our experienced ophthalmologists will provide you with quality eye care designed around helping those living with diabetes maintain their vision.

What is Diabetic Retinopathy?

Diabetic Retinopathy occurs when high blood sugar causes damage to the wall of the blood vessels in the eye. Once damaged, these vessels can leak, thicken, form clots, close off, or even grow defects such as microaneurysms. The retina is also affected from the damage, as fluid can accumulate in the retina, resulting in macular edema. If the issue is advanced, the retina can lose its blood supply and create new, defective blood vessels. Since these new vessels are so fragile, they can bleed, creating impaired vision, hemorrhages and retinal detachment. The vessels can also block fluid from flowing through the eye and can produce severe glaucoma.

How To Detect Problems

If you have diabetes, we strongly recommend that you get annual eye exams from your ophthalmologist so that any problems can be detected early. The doctors will thoroughly examine your retina and discuss the findings along with testing and/or treatment options with you.

To further examine in more detail, the doctor may do a fluorescein angiography test that can reveal the changes in the structure and function of the blood vessels. To do this, the doctor will inject a fluorescent yellow dye into one of your veins and see if the dye outlines the blood vessels, which can detect whether or not you have diabetic retinopathy. Your exam will also check for glaucoma and cataracts, which are also problems that occur in people with diabetes.

Treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy

If you are diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy, your treatment will involve both your family physician as well as an ophthalmologist. Your family doctor can help you control your blood sugar levels and treat other complications of diabetes not related to the eye, such as impaired kidney or heart function, while our ophthalmologists can directly treat your retinopathy with a laser or a surgical procedure. These treatments can both prevent any further vascular changes and help preserve vision.

Laser & Surgical Treatments
There are two mains types of ophthalmological treatment for diabetic retinopathy: laser and surgical.

The laser treatment is called laser photocoagulation. The laser is used to seal the leaking vessels and reduce swelling in the retina. The number of treatments depends on the type and seriousness of your retinopathy and how well it responds to the treatment.

The surgical procedure, vitrectomy, is recommended by the doctor if you have a hemorrhage, retinal detachment, or if the laser treatment doesn’t work. During this treatment, the gel-like substance inside the eye is drained out, making it easier to clean any leftover blood or scar tissue, followed by the replacement of vitreous fluid with a substitute fluid.

Contact Us Today!

If you have any questions about diabetic eye care and the treatment options we offer for diabetic retinopathy, please don’t hesitate to contact us or visit our Monroe, MI office, and our friendly staff at Eye Surgeons Associates will gladly answer any concerns. We look forward to helping you keep your eyes healthy and vision clear!