Diabetic Retinopathy is the leading cause of new blindness among Americans under the age of 65, but for most patients, having access to early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent vision loss.
If you suffer from diabetes and you would like to schedule an examination for the detection of diabetic retinopathy in Poughkeepsie or nearby areas, call Seeta Eye Centers at 845-454-1025 today.
What is Diabetic Retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy refers to blood vessel damage of the retina caused by complications of diabetes that can lead to significant vision loss and blindness. This condition tends to appear and progress in phases that can be readily observed during routine diabetic eye examinations. These phases include:
- Mild nonproliferative retinopathy – Though microaneurysms generally occur during this earliest stage, also referred to as background diabetic retinopathy, treatment may not be required without further progression or the accompaniment of diabetic macular edema.
- Moderate nonproliferative retinopathy – A more progressed condition, during this stage some blood vessels that nourish the retina will become blocked, but you may not experience any symptoms.
- Severe nonproliferative retinopathy – With increased progression, more blood vessels become blocked and deprive several areas of the retina with their blood supply. These areas of the retina send signals to the body to grow new blood vessels for nourishment. During this time, you may not notice any vision loss.
- Proliferative retinopathy - At this advanced stage, newly formed blood vessels are likely to break and hemorrhage to produce scarring and retinal detachment that can lead to severe vision loss and even blindness.
Because proliferative retinopathy can develop without symptoms, it’s important to maintain regular check-ups with your eye doctor.
Can You Reverse the Effects of Diabetic Retinopathy?
Damage done to the eyes by diabetic retinopathy is often permanent. Ant-VEGF medications have shown some promise in both halting and reversing some of the effects of diabetic retinopathy, but reversing damage entirely – or even to an effective point – may be impossible.
Early detection and treatment are essential for preventing blindness in individuals with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. This makes yearly visits to our office for routine screenings all the more important for individuals living with these disorders.
What Are the Causes of Diabetic Retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy is caused by changes to the retinal blood vessels brought about by uncontrolled blood sugar levels. Managing blood sugar levels is the only way to fully prevent diabetic retinopathy from developing.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy?
Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy may include:
- Floaters and flashers
- Loss of color sensitivity
- General vision blurriness
- Dark areas in the visual field
- Vision loss
Diabetic retinopathy can develop without symptoms. Individuals with diabetes must visit the eye doctor yearly to ensure asymptomatic conditions are diagnosed.
Who Is an Ideal Candidate for Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment?
If you have been diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy, you are a good candidate for treatment. There are different treatment modalities for different types and stages of diabetic retinopathy. The best way to learn which treatment will be best for you is through a diagnostic evaluation.
What is Recovery and Aftercare for Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment Like?
Recovery depends on the type of treatment you have undergone. Patients who receive anti-VEGF injections may experience some eye irritation and soreness for one to two weeks. You may also see a dark spot where the injection was placed. These things are temporary and should self-resolve.
Recovery from laser photocoagulation can take several weeks. Blurred vision is common for one to two days following laser surgery. Photosensitivity is common during this time as well. Staying in dimly-lit conditions and allowing the eyes to rest will help.
It may take up to two weeks before you can resume all normal activities following laser photocoagulation, though you should be able to resume non-demanding tasks within one to two days. We will provide you with specific care instructions based on your needs. When followed diligently, these can help to prevent complications and improve the overall recovery experience.
Diabetic Retinopathy Diagnosis and Treatment
Anyone who suffers from type 1 or type 2 diabetes is at risk for developing diabetic retinopathy. Unfortunately, the longer you have diabetes, the more likely it is that you will suffer from this condition.
The good news is that with regular eye examinations, our experienced eye doctors can monitor the progression of this condition and treat it accordingly using laser photocoagulation when necessary. Whether or not you have symptoms, early detection and timely treatment are the best way to prevent vision loss associated with diabetic retinopathy.