Diabetes causes damage to small blood vessels throughout the body, including the delicate retina. The retina is the innermost tissue lining of the eye that receives light and transmits images to the brain. With diabetic retinopathy, damage from these deteriorating blood vessels can eventually cause visual problems.
There Are Two Types Of Diabetic Retinopathy.
Background diabetic retinopathy (BDR) is caused by retinal blood vessel leakage. Some of the small blood vessels narrow or close completely, while others can enlarge and form balloon-like sacs. These blood vessels leak and hemorrhage, causing swelling and the formation of oozing deposits called exudates. All of these changes in the eyes due to diabetes can cause decreased vision.
The second type is proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR), which typically begins in a manner similar to BDR. Closed blood vessels along with the development of new abnormal blood vessels lead to PDR. These fragile blood vessels grow on the surface of the retina or into the vitreous body, the gel substance that fills the space between the front of the eye and the retina. In some cases, these new blood vessels rupture and bleed into the vitreous body, causing vision issues.
What Are The Symptoms Of Diabetic Retinopathy?
Leaking or hemorrhaging in the retina may be detected by a doctor even before vision is affected. Blurry vision could indicate retinal swelling. When bleeding occurs, vision may become very cloudy or completely lost in severe cases.
Evaluating Diabetic Retinopathy
At EyeCare Optical, a division of Drs. Campbell, Cunningham, Taylor & Haun, a thorough retinal examination will determine the overall health of your eyes and any changes in visual function. A complete diabetic eye evaluation often includes a test called fluorescein angiography, which consists of injecting a water-soluble dye into a small vein in the hand or arm and taking a series of specially filtered, high-speed photographs of the blood vessels in the retina. The results of this test help the doctor identify and evaluate areas of leakage or new blood vessel formation. Results from the fluorescein angiography can also help guide precision laser surgery, which may be used to treat retinopathy.
Treating Diabetic Retinopathy
People with diabetes are 25 times more likely to become blind than non-diabetics. However, risks can be significantly reduced with regular evaluation and proper care. There are many treatment options to help combat the effects of diabetic retinopathy. Laser surgery is a option that involves focusing a powerful beam of laser light energy onto the retina. Another treatment is intravitreal injections of medicines into the eye to protect against vision loss.
Laser treatment and injections are often effective in lowering the risk of progressive vision loss and maintaining your present vision. These treatments require no incisions and may be performed at your doctor’s office. If bleeding into the vitreous body has occurred, or if scar tissue is causing strain on the retina, a surgical procedure called a vitrectomy may be needed. This procedure is generally performed after other treatments have been attempted but proven unsuccessful.
People Over The Age Of 50 Should See An Eye Care Professional Every Year.
Schedule your diabetic eye exam at EyeCare Optical today by calling us at (865) 584-0905. Your Knoxville Ophthalmologists Drs. Campbell, Cunningham, Taylor and Haun are standing by ready to offer personal care and state-of-the-art technology with convenient offices in Knoxville, Farragut, Hardin Valley, Maryville, Oak Ridge and Sevierville.