Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment
Diabetic eye disease is a leading cause of blindness and vision loss.
Diabetes and Your Eyes
Eye disease caused by diabetes is a leading cause of blindness and vision loss. Because of the high risk for eye disease, all people with diabetes should receive an annual dilated eye exam. There are no symptoms in the early stages of diabetic eye disease. Diabetic retinopathy is damage to the retina caused by complications from diabetes. The retina is highly penetrated with small blood vessels and capillaries. With prolonged elevation of blood sugar, the vascular lining of the retina’s blood vessels becomes damaged, rendering them leaky. If swelling accumulates in the central retina or macula, blurred vision occurs. This blurred vision cannot be fixed with glasses. With further damage to the retinal blood vessels, the retina will become oxygen depleted. This results in the growth of abnormal new blood vessels, a condition known as neovascularization. Neovascular blood vessels are friable and bleed excessively, blocking vision. They can also cause further vision loss from retinal detachments and glaucoma. The good news is that diabetic eye disease can be treated, and your vision can be saved if you catch it early through a dilated eye exam. Don’t wait for symptoms. It doesn’t hurt – it’s easy – and it could save your sight.
Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy
Damage to retinal blood vessels from diabetes results in blurred vision from bleeding and swelling inside the eye. There is a class of medications, called VEGF inhibitors, that can help the damaged blood vessels stop leaking. At The Vision Care Center, we have access to the most commonly used VEGF inhibitor called Avastin. It has become the mainstay treatment for a multitude of eye conditions that cause swelling on the retina, and over the past decade, the VEGF inhibitors have taken over as the most successful treatment of diabetic retinopathy. The Vision Care Center also has access to other options that work alongside Avastin to help improve vision. Steroid injections are great at decreasing swelling, and there is a laser in the office that can be performed. When aimed at the leaking blood vessels, this focal grid argon laser can help reduce the bleeding and leakage from the vessels, stabilizing vision loss.
As diabetic retinopathy worsens and neovascularization (abnormal blood vessel growth) occurs, risk of blindness increases. Avastin is great at getting these bad blood vessels to regress and go away, but the medicine loses its effect over time and must be repeated. For more permanent results, more extensive argon laser can be placed throughout the retina to prevent neovascular bleeding, retinal detachments, glaucoma, and blindness.
Please click on this link to The American Academy of Ophthalmology for further information: