Diabetic Retinopathy: Understanding the Causes, Symptoms & Treatment Options
The eye doctors at Lifetime Vision Source provide diagnosis and treatment for diabetic retinopathy. This condition occurs in people who have diabetes and can cause progressive damage to the retina, the light-sensitive lining at the back of the eye. The World Health Organization lists diabetic retinopathy as one of the leading causes of blindness worldwide.
Your risk of developing diabetic retinopathy depends on the following:
- The type of diabetes you have
- How long you’ve had diabetes
- How often your blood glucose changes
- How well-controlled your diabetes is
The good news is there are things you can do to prevent the condition from developing. If you do develop diabetic retinopathy, we can provide treatments to slow or even halt the progression of the disease.
What Causes Diabetic Retinopathy?
Diabetes is caused by high levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood. As it progresses, the disease can damage the blood vessels in the retina by causing them to leak, leading to diabetic retinopathy. This in turn causes the retinal tissue to swell, which results in cloudy or blurred vision. Without effective treatment, the disease can eventually cause irreversible vision loss.
In the early stages of the disease, patients may experience mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. As the condition progresses, the following symptoms are common:
- Blurred vision
- Seeing spots or floaters
- Impaired night vision
- Impaired color vision
- Dark or empty spots in vision
Because of a lack of early symptoms, we always advise diabetes patients to schedule complete eye exams annually here at Lifetime Vision Source in Jamestown, ND. We have the experience and technology to ensure early diagnosis and appropriate referral for treatment if needed. The longer diabetic retinopathy goes undiagnosed, the higher the likelihood the patient may experience irreversible vision loss.
The most effective treatment is prevention through controlling your diabetes. Other treatment options will depend on the location of the disease and the degree of damage to the retina. In cases where central vision is already affected, laser treatment or injections of special medications inside the eye are usually required to seal the blood vessels and halt further progression of the disease.
For more severe cases, vitrectomy surgery is used to remove vitreous gel, blood and scar tissue in the back of the eye. This allows light rays to focus on the retina again.
Book Your Appointment Today!
Have you or any of your loved ones been diagnosed with diabetes? Contact Lifetime Vision Source today for a comprehensive eye exam and professional eyecare services. Call (701) 252-2020 or simply fill out our request form to get started. Let us help diagnose any symptoms and map out a treatment plan as soon as possible.