Diabetic Retinal Disease Specialist

Diabetic Retinal Disease Q & A

What is diabetic retinal disease?

Diabetic retinal disease, or diabetic retinopathy, is a complication of diabetes that affects your eyes and vision.

Uncontrolled diabetes can damage blood vessels and affect light-sensitive retinal tissues in the back part of your eyes, eventually causing vision loss if left untreated. Diabetic retinal disease can develop in anybody with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.

What are the symptoms of diabetic retinopathy?

When you first have diabetic retinal disease, you might not notice symptoms or experience just mild vision impairments. As the condition progresses, however, you may notice:

  • Blurred vision
  • Impaired color vision
  • Vision loss
  • Dark areas in your vision
  • Fluctuating vision
  • Dark spots or strings that appear to move

Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy can be mild or severe and usually affect both of your eyes. It’s important to see your ophthalmologist at the first sign of vision issues to prevent serious complications and save your eyesight.

What are the risk factors for diabetic retinal disease?

If you have diabetes, keeping your blood sugar well controlled reduces your risk of retinal disease and vision loss. Factors that boost your chance of diabetes-related vision problems include:

  • Poor blood sugar control
  • Having diabetes for a long time
  • Pregnancy
  • Smoking
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Being of Hispanic, Africa American, or Native American background

Complications associated with diabetic retinopathy include hemorrhage, glaucoma, retinal detachment, and blindness.

How is diabetic retinal disease diagnosed?

To diagnose diabetic retinal disease, Dr. Reddy completes a comprehensive dilated eye exam. She uses eye drops to dilate the pupils of your eyes to get a better look inside. She examines your eyes for signs of retinal disease, such as swelling, blood in the retina, and abnormal blood vessels.

She and her team also test your vision, look for evidence of cataracts, and measure eye pressure to determine if you have glaucoma. They use imaging tests, such as Heidelberg Spectral domain for optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging, to view detailed pictures of your retina and determine if you have diabetes-related retinal disease.

What is the treatment for diabetic retinal disease?

Your personalized diabetic retinal disease treatment plan is based on the severity of your condition. Dr. Reddy might recommend:

Watchful waiting

If you have a mild form of diabetic retinal disease, you might not require treatment unless the disease progresses. Controlling your blood sugar helps prevent retina disease from worsening.

Eye surgery

If you have a more advanced stage of diabetic retinopathy, Dr. Reddy and her team might recommend laser treatment or injections to shrink abnormal blood vessels in your eye, slow leaking blood or other fluids, remove blood from your eye, or stop new blood vessel growth.

Even after surgery, monitoring your blood sugar with diabetes and taking care of your eyes is crucial to prevent future vision loss.

At the first signs of diabetes-related vision problems, schedule an appointment with Athena Eye Institute over the phone or online today.