In diabetes, the tiny blood vessels that nourish the retina can become damaged and leak fluid or blood into the retina — or into the eye itself. Damage from this process is called diabetic retinopathy.
In the early stages of diabetic retinopathy, there are few to no symptoms. There may be a slight decrease in the clarity of vision, but, in many cases, vision appears to remain quite good. This makes it essential that diabetic changes be detected by a complete, dilated eye examination. As the disease progresses, or if bleeding occurs, vision may become very cloudy or blurred with floaters.
Diagnosing Diabetic Retinopathy
Philadelphia Retina Associates, formerly Deglin & Greene Retinal Center, performs comprehensive eye exams that include a dilated evaluation of the retina. When indicated, the blood vessels and swelling are further evaluated by a photographic test called digital fluorescein angiography and optical coherence tomography, which provide our ophthalmologists with the most accurate information possible regarding the health of the vessels and the retina. These results can also be a helpful tool when laser surgery is indicated.
Treating Diabetic Retinopathy
When leaking blood vessels occur, our eye surgeons can treat them with state-of-the-art laser technology and intravitreal injections of the latest specialized medications. Laser treatment is often helpful in lowering the risk of future vision loss.
Laser treatments require no incisions and are performed as in-office procedures. In more advanced retinopathy, or if bleeding into the vitreous occurs, a surgical procedure called vitrectomy may be necessary. Our experts will recommend surgical treatment only after all other options have been exhausted.
Preventive Care Is Key
The best way to minimize the possibility of complications from diabetes is preventive care. The risks of vision loss from diabetes can be reduced with periodic dilated retinal evaluation and by maintaining good general health. Studies have shown that proper control of blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol, and weight can help preserve vision.
For more information on advanced care for diabetic retinopathy in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, call Philadelphia Retina Associates, formerly Deglin & Greene Retinal Center, in Philadelphia today at (215) 335-3088 or use our online appointment request form.