Northwest Eye Physicians offer diabetic laser treatment for our patients. Diabetes is a medical condition that enables your body to handle sugar that is absorbed from food and it results in having abnormalities in the level of sugar in your bloodstream. Diabetes has several effects on your eye. First of all, it can cause your retina to change and people who are diabetic are at a greater risk for developing glaucoma. Cataracts can also be developed from having diabetes earlier than people who do not have diabetes and diabetes can also cause diabetic retinopathy.
What is diabetic retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy is a potentially blinding complication of diabetes which causes abnormalities in the tiny blood vessels leading to the retina. These blood vessels swell and leak blood, damaging the retina, the light-sensitive tissue which lines the back portion of the eye. Left untreated, diabetic retinopathy can result in severe loss of vision and ultimately blindness.
The causes of diabetic retinopathy are not certain, but it has been determined that the fluctuation in blood sugar levels leads to an increased risk of this disease. There are two stages of diabetic retinopathy, non-proliferative, or background retinopathy, and proliferative retinopathy. In the early stage of non-proliferative retinopathy, your symptoms may include blurred or changing vision from the leaking blood that obscures the light-sensitive retina. Proliferative retinopathy is the more advanced stage of this disease. New blood vessels grow abnormally in the retina and this growth can lead to bleeding, scarring, or a retinal detachment which can lead to total blindness.
How is diabetic retinopathy treated?
The location of the disease and the degree of damage to the retina determines the type of treatment of diabetic retinopathy. There are two effective methods in reducing vision loss from this disease. One method involves treatment with laser photocoagulation, a way of sealing off the leaking blood vessels and causing abnormal blood vessels to regress. Another procedure is conventional eye surgery, a vitrectomy, to remove blood that has leaked into the vitreous humor, replacing it with a saline solution.
The best treatment for diabetic retinopathy is prevention. Early detection and management is important to prevent the development of the more sight damaging stages of the disease. Keeping blood sugar at an even level and frequent eye examinations will help. With careful monitoring, treatment of diabetic retinopathy can be started long before sight is affected.