Diabetic retinopathy is a condition in which the blood vessels in the retina are damaged by diabetes. Initially, the blood vessel walls become weak causing tiny bubbles called microaneurysms. These microaneurysms may leak fluid and blood into the retina causing a decrease in vision. This is called Background Diabetic Retinopathy.
These abnormal diabetic blood vessels also can decrease the blood supply to the retina, resulting in “ischemia”, which is a lack of oxygen to the retinal tissue. The eye then tries to compensate by producing new blood vessels, called “Neovascularization”. However, these blood vessels are abnormal and can cause bleeding into the retina and vitreous gel inside the eye. This is called Progressive Diabetic Retinopathy.
Without proper diagnosis and treatment Diabetic Eye Disease causes decreased vision and possibly blindness. Early diagnosis and treatment is the key to a good prognosis of this condition.
At the Northwest Eye Center, we provide the state of the art technology to diagnose and treat diabetic eye disease. We offer fundus (retinal) photography to document the retinal vasculature, OCT (Optical Coherence Topography), a laser scan of the retina, to find very early subclinical eye disease, and if necessary, fluorescein angiography to evaluate the extent of the vasculature leakage. If treatment is necessary, we offer intravitreal injections to decrease vessel leakage and prevent loss of vision.
The doctors and the staff at the Northwest Eye Center may detect the early stages of diabetic retinopathy before you have symptoms, and can tell you if you may benefit from treatment.
Diabetics should have a complete eye examination, including dilation of the eyes at least once a year to check for cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy.