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.
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
Stages of Diabetic Retinopathy
- Blood vessels on the retina start to swell (mild nonproliferative retinopathy)
- Over time the blood vessels distort, blocking blood from its normal passage flow (moderate nonproliferative retinopathy)
- Additional blood vessels become blocked, further blocking blood flow and signaling the growth of new blood vessels (severe nonproliferative retinopathy)
- Abnormal, fragile blood vessels grow on the inside surface of the retina to compensate for the lack of blood flow (proliferative diabetic retinopathy)
The retina will be starved from receiving the correct amount of healthy blood flow to provide clear vision. Bleeding and scar tissue can form on the retina, often leading to a retinal detachment.
Depending on the severity of your condition, Dr. Robert Pendleton may recommend:
- Peripheral laser photocoagulation (PRP): laser burns to stop leaks of fluid and blood or to shrink abnormal blood vessels
- Vitrectomy: removal of the vitreous gel in the eye
- Medications: steroids or anti-VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) injections of Avastin© or EYLEA© to reduce the risk of abnormal blood vessel growth
To learn more about diabetic retinopathy in Oceanside, California, contact us today.