Diabetic Eye Disease

Diagnosis & Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is caused by damage to the blood vessels of the retina. All patients with diabetes are at risk for developing diabetic retinopathy, however the better your blood sugar and blood pressures are controlled, the less likely you are to develop it. Diabetic retinopathy may not have any symptoms but can still risk affecting your vision. For this reason, patients with diabetes should have screening annual eye exams.

Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy

The types of diabetic retinopathy

Non-Proliferative diabetic retinopathy:

This stage of diabetic retinopathy is characterized by retinal hemorrhages. The vision may still be unaffected or patients may have vision loss.  Although the retina vessels are affected, in this stage there is no new growth of abnormal blood vessels. There may or may not be diabetic macular edema which can affect the vision and may need treatment with injections of medicine into the eye. 

Proliferative diabetic retinopathy:

This is the advanced stage of diabetic retinopathy. As the disease progresses, abnormal blood vessels proliferate. These blood vessels are fragile and can burst easily causing bleeding, retinal detachment or glaucoma which can lead to permanent blindness. This stage of the disease requires urgent treatment. Patients with proliferative diabetic retinopathy may also have diabetic macular edema.

Diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy

Your eye doctor can make the diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy with a dilated eye exam to examine the retina in detail. Sometimes an ocular coherence tomography (OCT) or a fluorescein angiogram (FA) is used to help with the diagnosis. 

Our doctors at Denver Eye Surgeons have the knowledge, expertise, and equipment necessary to diagnose and treat diabetic retinopathy. We have a fellowship trained retinal specialist to help with the diagnosis and treatment of diabetic retinopathy. All patients with diabetes should be examined regularly to detect any signs of diabetic retinopathy. If caught early, the disease is reversible. In later stages, various types of treatment become necessary and significant vision can be lost.

Treatment of diabetic retinopathy

There are many ways to treat diabetic retinopathy. The treatment will depend upon the type of diabetic retinopathy and the level of retinal damage. The different ways are:

Diabetic retinopathy can often be managed with these treatments. It is also very important to control your blood sugars and blood pressures with the help of your primary doctor and/or endocrinologist. 

Request a Retina Consultation Now!

To learn more about the retina, the diagnosis of diseases, medical treatments, and surgical treatments for retinal diseases, please request an appointment or contact us for your exam at 303-279-6600.

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