Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic Retinopathy DiagramDiabetic Retinopathy is the most common diabetic eye disease and a leading cause of blindness in American adults. People with diabetes are 25 times more likely to lose vision than those who are not diabetic. Diabetes can damage the blood vessels in your eyes causing them to leak which can cause vision loss. The retina is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. After being diagnosed with diabetes it is important to have a comprehensive eye exam annually to ensure these blood vessels are not leaking. Contact our Retina Centers in Stockton, Tracy or Lodi to schedule an appointment.

Vision loss due to Diabetic Retinopathy can occur in two ways. Proliferative Retinopathy occurs when the abnormal blood vessels can develop and leak blood into the center of the eye, blurring your vision. The second is Macula Edema when fluid leaks into the center of the macula (part of the eye where straight-ahead vision occurs). This fluid makes the macula swell, blurring vision. Too much sugar in your blood can damage the tiny blood vessels that nourish the retina. The blood supply to the retina is cut off as more blood vessels become blocked. As this continues the blood vessels leak and can cause a loss of vision.

Symptoms include:

  • Blurred Vision
  • Fluctuating Vision
  • Spots or dark strings floating in your vision
  • Difficulty with color perception

Treatment is available and recommended for patients who have reached the stage of proliferative retinopathy. Depending on the specific damage to your retina the ophthalmologists at Delta Eye Medical Group have three surgical treatment options. Depending on the specific damage to your retina there are three surgical procedures:

    • Focal Laser Treatment, also known as photocoagulation, is a process that can stop or slow the leaking of blood vessels in to the eye. This laser treatment is completed in one visit.
    • In Scatter Laser Treatment, otherwise known as panretinal photocoagulation, the scattered laser burns the abnormal blood vessels in the areas of the retina. The burns cause the abnormal blood vessels to scar and shrink. Treatment can be completed in one or multiple visits.
    • A procedure called Vitrectomy is used to remove the blood and scar tissue from the vitreous, the middle of the eye. A vitrectomy is not a laser treatment and will require the use of general anesthesia. This treatment will require the most aftercare.

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To learn more about treatment options for Diabetic Retinopathy contact our Retina Centers in Stockton, Tracy & Lodi.