Diabetic Retinopathy FAQs

Diabetes is a serious disease and if you don't have the condition under control, it can cause complications in many parts of the body, such as the kidneys, nerves, heart, skin, and feet. Uncontrolled diabetes can also affect your eyes, causing a condition called diabetic retinopathy. This is a serious condition that affects individuals with both types of diabetes.

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Fortunately, the professionals at East Cobb Eye Center in Marietta, GA can create a treatment plan to slow the progression of the condition, preserving your vision longer.

What Is Diabetic Retinopathy?

Diabetic retinopathy causes damage to the blood vessels in the retina, and can also cause new, abnormal blood vessels to form. If the condition goes undetected or untreated, it can lead to blindness.

What Are the Risk Factors of Diabetic Retinopathy?

Anyone with diabetes can develop diabetic retinopathy; however, certain factors can increase your risk of developing this condition.

  • The longer you've had diabetes, the greater the risk of developing this condition.
  • Poor control of your blood sugar level
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Tobacco use
  • Pregnancy

What Are the Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy?

This condition causes no symptoms in the early stages, which is why it's essential to schedule an eye exam every year. As the condition progresses, you can develop the following symptoms:

  • Spots floating in your vision.
  • Blurry vision
  • Fluctuating vision
  • Empty areas or dark areas in your vision
  • Vision loss

Can Diabetic Retinopathy Cause Complications?

Yes. If left untreated, this condition can lead to complications, including:

  • Retinal detachment
  • Vitreous hemorrhage
  • Glaucoma
  • Permanent blindness

How Is Diabetic Retinopathy Diagnosed?

Your optometrist can diagnose this condition during your annual eye exam. They will dilate your eyes to get a good look at your retina to check for abnormalities. If your eye doctor suspects you have diabetic retinopathy, they will run further tests to confirm the diagnosis, including:

  • Fluorescein angiography can help your eye doctor pinpoint blood vessels that have broken, closed, or are leaking.
  • Optical coherence tomography provides cross-sectional images of the retina that can help your optometrist determine how much fluid has leaked into the retinal tissue. It can also monitor how well the treatment is working.

How Is Diabetic Retinopathy Treated?

The treatment your eye doctor chooses depends on the severity of your condition and how it has progressed. In the early stages, you may not need any treatment, and your eye doctor will monitor your condition regularly. As the condition advances, there are a few treatment options designed to slow the progression of the disease.

  • Your eye doctor can inject medication into your eye that stops the growth of new blood vessels and also decrease fluid buildup.
  • Focal laser treatment is a laser surgical treatment designed to stop or slow the leakage of fluid and blood into the eye.
  • Scatter laser treatment can shrink abnormal blood vessels.
  • Vitrectomy is a surgical procedure where your eye doctor creates a tiny incision in the eye to remove blood from the vitreous and scar tissue that tugs on the retina.

Schedule an Appointment with Our Optometrist in Marietta, GA

If left undiagnosed, diabetic retinopathy can result in blindness; therefore, annual visits to East Cobb Eye Center are essential. Our eye care professionals can diagnose diabetic retinopathy and create a treatment plan to slow the progression of the disease. Call us today at (770) 642-4001 for more information or to schedule an appointment with our eye doctor.

 

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