Retinal damage, as a complication of diabetes, is called diabetic retinopathy. It is one of the leading causes of adult blindness in the United States. There are very small blood vessels inside the retina at the back of the eye. Diabetes can cause changes, such as fluid leakage or abnormal growth, in these blood vessels. The resulting retinal degradation can lead to complete vision loss.
Patients may not experience symptoms or pain in the beginning stages of diabetic retinopathy; however, this condition can progress and become serious rapidly. Dr. Smith performs regular comprehensive eye exams in order to prevent severe vision loss and blindness. He also urges patients to come in for an eye exam between regularly scheduled visits if they experience any of the following symptoms:
Anyone diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes has a high risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. The likelihood increases when the following factors are present:
Dr. Smith’s diabetic patients are evaluated regularly for diabetic retinopathy during their comprehensive, clinical eye exam. Upon finding evidence of retinal damage or the presence of symptoms, Dr. Smith uses high quality testing equipment, such as: ocular coherence tomography (OCT), fluorescein angiogram, or fundus photography for a more conclusive evaluation of the retina.
Treatment of diabetic retinopathy, at the Smith-Perry Eye Center, begins with routine eye exams to monitor eye health. Dr. Smith will discuss prevention and corrective procedure options with the patient. The first line of defense against the progression of retinal damage is to control blood sugar levels carefully. Dr. Smith treats more advanced stages of diabetic retinopathy using the using either Anti-VGEF drugs or the Argon laser in order to stop the progression of the condition.