Diabetic Retinopathy

As we wrap up November and Diabetes Awareness month, our final blog post is about diabetic retinopathy.

As we have emphasized in previous posts, dilated eye exams are an important part of diabetes management and care. The earlier changes in the retina are caught, the earlier intervention can be initiated! It is important to remember that not every person with diabetes will develop diabetic retinopathy.

There are 2 types of diabetic retinopathy: Non-Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy and Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy.

Non-Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy causes changes to the retina – microaneurysms may form, blood vessels may swell, leak fluid and become blocked. If you notice changes in your vision, see your optometrist or ophthalmologist as soon as possible.

In Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy, the retina grows new blood vessels, however these new vessels are abnormal and fragile. The new blood vessels may leak fluid and blood, cause scar tissue to form and could possibly cause a retinal detachment and/or loss of vision. Sounds scary, right?!

Once diabetic retinopathy is detected, patients are referred to a retinal specialist – an ophthalmologist who specializes in the diseases/disorders of the retina (the back of the eye, the film in the camera). The retina specialist will also perform a dilated exam and then recommend treatment based on the changes they see in the retina. Possible treatment options can include but are not limited to: laser, injections of medication into the back cavity of the eye, or possible surgery in the operating room.

The take home message: if you or a loved one has diabetes make sure that yearly dilated eye exams are part of your diabetic care; control your blood sugar levels; and if you experience ANY CHANGES in your vision be seen as soon as possible!

Call 919-282-1100 to schedule an exam with the Kelly Eye Center.

Life is beautiful, see it clearly!

Happy Thanksgiving!