About Diabetic Retinopathy

Symptoms

Much like glaucoma, dangerous changes in the retina often happen before patients notice changes in their sight. In many cases, there are no symptoms until the disease becomes severe and vision is blurred or blocked entirely. This is why regular eye exams are extremely important for diabetic patients.

Diagnosing

Our retina specialists have extensive training and experience in diagnosing retinopathy. We use proven diagnostic techniques like Ocular Coherence Tomography, Fundus Autofluorescence, A-Scan and B-Scan Ultrasonography, and Fluorescein Angiography to make sure we can detect degeneration early.

Types of Diabetic Retinopathy

The Early Stage is indicated by blood vessel changes and fluid build-up without the growth of unhealthy blood vessels. Vessels may swell causing fluid leakage and build up in the retina which can result in blurry vision or bleeding in the retina.

The Advanced Stage leads to the breakdown of retinal blood vessels leading to (neovascularization) the growth of new, unhealthy blood vessels. These unhealthy vessels may bleed causing dark spots, cobweb-like strands, and clouded vision. The retina could eventually detach from the back of the eye, resulting in loss of sight or blindness.

Treatment Options

Vistar retina specialists use a number of injection medications to treat retinal complications of diabetes, when appropriate. Patients suffering from diabetic macular edema (DME) can be treated with Lucentis or Eylea; both which are FDA approved for treating DME.

Laser surgery (Photocoagulation)

Laser surgery is a common option for diabetic retinopathy patients. This outpatient procedure uses a precision laser is used to seal leeking or bleeding blood vessels. Recovery is quick and most patients can return to normal activities the next day.

Vitrectomy

A vitrectomy will correct unhealthy vessel growth, scar tissue, and bleeding by using a small suction tool to remove the vitreous gel inside growing in side the eye. Surgery is conveniently accessible through an outpatient hospital setting or ambulatory surgery center. Recovery from a vitrectomy can take a few days to a few weeks.