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Diabetes

Diabetic RetinopathyDiabetic Retinopathy Treatment in Delaware

Diabetes is a disease that can cause many complications throughout the human body. Uncontrolled or untreated diabetes can potentially cause loss of sight or blindness. Diabetes affects small blood vessels throughout the body, including the ones that feed the eye’s retina. The retina is the delicate nerve tissue that lines the inside of the eye. It can be compared to film in a camera because it receives the images we see and transmits them to the brain through the optic nerve for interpretation. When diabetes begins to affect a person’s eyes, it essentially deteriorates the blood vessels within the retina, causing them to leak. This occurrence is referred to as Diabetic retinopathy.

Early in the course of diabetes, leaking or bleeding in the retina may be visible to a doctor even before vision is affected. Blurry vision may occur as an indication of swelling in the retina caused by blood sugar fluctuations. For individuals with uncontrolled blood sugar levels, they may notice that their vision changes as their blood sugar rises and lowers. When bleeding occurs, vision may become very cloudy or completely lost. A thorough eye examination with the doctor’s of Delaware Eye Care Center will determine the overall health of your eyes including evaluation for glaucoma, cataracts and visual function. It is important to keep in mind that diabetics are several times more likely to become blind than non-diabetic patients. This risk can be significantly reduced with careful evaluation and care.

Today, the mainstay of treatment for diabetic retinopathy is laser surgery, a procedure that involves focusing a powerful beam of light energy onto the retina. Selective sealing of leaking areas of the damaged retina may be achieved with the laser beam. Laser treatment is often helpful in maintaining vision and preventing further vision loss, but is unable to restore vision that has already been lost. This treatment requires no incisions and may be performed in the doctor's office.

In more advanced cases of diabetic retinopathy, bleeding into the vitreous gel (central cavity of the eye) or pulling of scar tissue on the retina may occur. In this instance, a more invasive surgery called a vitrectomy may be necessary. This procedure must be performed in a sterile operating room and is usually performed only after other treatments have been attempted. This procedure, like all surgical procedures involves certain risks. If faced with this procedure it is important to discuss all possible risks and benefits with your surgeon and their surgical counseling team.

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Diabetics may also develop cataracts earlier than most and are more likely to develop glaucoma. Like most eye conditions and diseases, early diagnosis and treatment is very important. Control of blood sugar levels helps to slow the onset and progression of the disease. It is important for diabetics to have annual eye examinations with their eye care professionals. If you would like more information on diabetic eye disease or to schedule a diabetic eye evaluation, please call 1-800-900-2020.