Diabetic retinopathy is a vision-threatening condition. In fact, it’s one of the leading causes of blindness worldwide. Early detection and management of this problem can significantly reduce your risk of losing your sense of sight to this disease.
In today’s post, Shady Grove Eye and Vision Care, your trusted provider of laser eye surgery and other eye care services, explains how diabetic retinopathy is diagnosed and treated.
Diagnosing Diabetic Retinopathy
The key to diagnosing diabetic retinopathy is undergoing regular eye exams. This is especially important for people who are diabetic or who have close relatives with diabetes. During your visit, we will apply dilating eye drops on your eyes, which allow us to visualize your retinal blood vessels. This way, we can easily spot microaneurysms and other signs of diabetic retinopathy.
Managing Diabetic Retinopathy
The goal of treatment is to stop, or at least slow, the progression of the disease. Apart from having an eye exam regularly, controlling your blood sugar levels is another important component of your treatment plan. Take your anti-diabetic medications as instructed. Following your doctor’s diet recommendations and any advice about lifestyle modifications can greatly help as well.
If you’re already experiencing changes to your vision, this may be a sign that your diabetic retinopathy is in the advanced stage. Laser treatment or photocoagulation may help reduce the swelling of your macula. This involves making tiny burns on your retina, sealing of the blood vessel leaks.
We may also suggest introducing anti-vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGF) into your eyes. Anti-VEGF substances are injected into your vitreous gel, suppressing the growth of new blood vessels. As a result, there will be fewer blood vessels leaking fluids into your macula.
For more severe cases, your eye doctor may recommend a surgical procedure known as vitrectomy. This involves removing the vitreous, the gel-like sac at the back of your eyes where fluids from the ruptured blood vessels usually seep into. As a result, light can properly land on your retina again, giving you better vision.
If you have any questions about diabetic retinopathy detection and treatment or other eye care concerns, call us at (301) 859-4060. You may also complete our form to request an appointment. We serve Washington, DC, Alexandria, VA, Rockville, MD, and nearby areas. Feel free to check out the first half of this special blog to learn how diabetic retinopathy occurs.