DIABETIC RETINOPATHY

DIABETIC RETINOPATHY

What is diabetic retinopathy?
 
 Diabetic retinopathy is an eye condition that results from diabetic complications. High blood sugar levels can damage the blood vessels in the retina, causing vision problems and blindness if left untreated. It can occur in juvenile or adult onset diabetics. 
What are the symptoms of diabetic retinpathy?

Diabetic retinpathy symptoms are usually mild in the early stages of the disease, but can worsen over time. 

The symptoms of diabetic retinpathy include:
• Dark spots in your vision
• Blurry or hazy vision
• Distorted color perception
• Blindness 

Contact your doctor if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. 
How is diabetic retinpathy treated? 

 For mild, or early diabetic retinpathy, management of diabetic symptoms such as high blood pressure can help slow the progression of the disease. If the disease is not detected until its later stages, you may require surgery. 
Surgical options include focal laser, scatter laser, and vitrectomy treatments. 
 Focal laser treatment decreases the leakage of blood vessels in the eye slowing the rate of damage. Scatter laser treatment shrinks the blood vessels preventing them from growing or leaking. Both laser treatment options are quick outpatient procedures and take one to two appointment sessions. 
 A virectomy is a surgical procedure in which the excess blood and scar tissue is removed from the eye. It requires local or general anesesthia and is usually performed in a hospital. As with all medical procedures, there are risks and side effects to all treatment options. 
 Consult your doctor to determine what treatment option is best for you. 
Who is at risk? 

Diabetics, especially those with uncontrolled diabetes, are at the greatest risk for diabetic retinopathy. 

You also may be at risk if you:
• Have high blood pressure
• High cholesterol
• Are pregnant
• Smoke or chew tobacco
• Are of black, Hispanic, or Native American descent.

Regular eye exams and tests by your ophthalmologist can help detect and treat diabetic retinopathy early and lower the risk of vision loss. 

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