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Diabetic Retinopathy

What is Diabetic Retinopathy?

Diabetic retinopathy is a progressive eye disease that damages the existing blood vessels in the retina and causes abnormal blood vessels to grow on the retina. This is triggered by chronic high blood sugar levels. Any leakage of fluids from these blood vessels can cause permanent vision loss in Type 1, Type 2 and gestational diabetics.

Chart Illustrating a Normal Retina vs One Experiencing Diabetic Retinopathy

What are the Types of Diabetic Retinopathy?

Non-proliferative retinopathy

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Non-proliferative retinopathy (NPDR) is the early stage of the disease where blood vessels on the retina start to swell (mild non-proliferative retinopathy). Over time the blood vessels distort, blocking blood from its normal passage flow (moderate non-proliferative retinopathy).

Proliferative retinopathy

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Proliferative retinopathy (PDR) is an advanced stage of retinopathy where abnormal, fragile blood vessels have grown on the inside surface of the retina to compensate for the lack of blood flow (proliferative diabetic retinopathy).

Diabetic Macular Edema

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Diabetic Macular Edema (DME) often occurs with diabetic retinopathy. Fluid (called edema) builds up in the macula, the central part of the retina. Macular edema can damage the central vision if not treated promptly.

What are the symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy?

All diabetics are especially susceptible to vision problems. It is absolutely imperative that you have regular dilated eye exams to monitor your retinal health so conditions like diabetic retinopathy can be diagnosed as early as possible. Initial problems may not be noticed in your vision; however, as the condition progresses you will begin to experience:

  • Dark spots
  • Floaters in the forms of strings or cobwebs in vision
  • Blurry vision
  • Changes in color perception
  • Vision loss

How is Diabetic Retinopathy Treated?

Dr. Pendleton will recommend dilated eye exams. Depending on the severity of your condition, he will provide a treatment solution that can prevent, treat, or sometimes even reverse damage from diabetes in the retina. 

Dr. Pendleton’s recommendations may include:

  • Controlling blood sugar and blood pressure to reduce the progression of diabetic retinopathy.
  • Medications or Intraocular Injections: Steroids or anti-VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) injections of as Avastin, EYLEA©, or VABYSMO® to reduce the risk of abnormal blood vessel growth.
  • Peripheral Laser Photocoagulation (PRP): Laser burns to stop leaks of fluid and blood or to shrink abnormal blood vessels.

To learn more about macular degeneration in Oceanside, California, contact us today.

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(760) 758-2008


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3637 Vista Way
Oceanside, CA 92056

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