What is Diabetic Retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy is an eye disease that is a possible side effect of diabetes. It occurs when blood sugar levels become too high and cause the blood vessels in the retina portion of the eye to build up, swell, and even leak. In some cases, abnormal blood vessels will form on the retina and obstruct vision.
Stages of Diabetic Retinopathy
There are two main stages of diabetic retinopathy. Non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR) is the early stage and very common among diabetics. Those with NPDR commonly experience blurry vision because of the leaking blood vessels onto the macula, the central portion of the retina.
Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) is a more advanced level of the disease that affects both central and peripheral vision. Retinopathy reaches the PDR state as new blood vessels begin to form (neovascularization). Slight bleeding can cause the appearance of a few dark floaters, but heavier bleeding can block a significant amount of vision. In many cases, the new blood vessels end up forming scar tissue and cause retinal detachment.
Diagnosis and Treatment by Our Eye Doctor
When your pupils are dilated during an eye exam, it allows our ophthalmologist to see inside your eye, and we are able to look inside your retina and see any abnormal activity or any problems with blood vessels. Another type of test, called optical coherence tomography, measures the thickness of the retina and helps identify macular swelling. If the disease is detected, treatment will likely include a combination of injections of steroid medication into the eye as well as guidance to reduce your blood sugar and blood pressure through nutrition and medication. Some laser surgery is also used as a treatment to seal leaking blood vessels.
Schedule an Appointment Today!
To detect issues like diabetic retinopathy, it is important to schedule regular eye care exams and treatment of any conditions you may have. At Eastside Eye Physicians PC, we strive to help you take care of your eyes, as well as your overall health. To serve you better, we are located in both St. Clair Shores (586-774-2020) and Shelby Township (586-247-2020). Contact us to learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment.