Did you know that diabetes is the primary factor behind most of the recent cases of blindness in the United States? Diabetes itself results from the inability to properly absorb and process sugar. This inability can spike blood sugar to high levels, which in turn can lead to eye damage. Familiarizing yourself with what causes the degenerative eye disease that adversely affects the retina—diabetic retinopathy—can enable you to prevent and treat the condition before it goes too far.
Fishman & Sheridan eyeCare Specialists stands for only the very best in patient care, which encompasses prevention tips and comprehensive information regarding diabetic retinopathy causes and diabetic retinopathy treatment. At our eye care practice, with facilities in Leesburg, Eustis, and Clermont, our team of eye doctors will ensure that you are well-educated about your condition and how to preserve your precious vision.
Understanding Diabetic Retinopathy Causes
As our doctors will discuss during your visit, there are essentially three stages of diabetic retinopathy: non-proliferative, macular edema, and proliferative retinopathy.
Stage 1: Basically, diabetic retinopathy occurs when tiny blood vessels (capillaries) in the retina are damaged. In patients with non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy, the walls of these vessels weaken and develop minute bulges.
Stage 2: The macular edema stage involves more bulging of the capillaries, which will begin to leak blood and fluid. When the center of the macula (a small part of the eye responsible for the sharpness of vision) begins to swell, blurred vision may ensue.
Stage 3: Proliferative diabetic retinopathy features the formation of new blood vessels. However, these new capillaries are also weak, and may begin to grow into the vitreous that fills the center of the eye. This abnormal growth can cause the capillaries to shut down, lead to vision loss, or force the retina to detach.
Who Is at Risk for Diabetic Retinopathy?
Those at risk for developing diabetic retinopathy include:
- Those who have type I or type II diabetes
- Diabetics with poorly controlled blood sugar levels
- Diabetics with high blood pressure
- Diabetics with high cholesterol
- Diabetics who are pregnant
- Diabetics of Hispanic or African-American descent
It is important to note that having diabetes does not mean you will automatically develop diabetic retinopathy. Simply, diabetics should be acutely aware of conditions that they are more susceptible to, such as glaucoma or cataracts.
Diabetic Retinopathy Prevention Tips
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, or relate to any of the risk factors of developing diabetic retinopathy, you may have an advantage in preventing the degenerative disease. Fishman & Sheridan eyeCare Specialists doctors find that diabetic patients who schedule eye exams before exhibiting any of the signs of diabetic retinopathy usually benefit from our expert advice. We urge diabetics to take every precaution to monitor their blood sugar levels, and meet with a Fishman & Sheridan eyeCare Specialists doctor at least once a year.
Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment Options
If diabetic retinopathy is already present in the eye, laser therapy and surgery represent the most effective forms of treatment. Timely treatment for diabetic retinopathy may substantially reduce the chances of severe vision loss. We are happy to discuss your options for diabetic retinopathy treatment with you at our Leesburg, Eustis, or Clermont office.
Retinal laser treatments can be used to help reduce swelling in the retina, as well as reverse new vessel formation. In certain cases, we may refer patients to a specialist who performs this service.
Surgery, on the other hand, involves the removal of clouded vitreous gel and vitreous tissue from the eye. The surgeon we refer you to will apply a special solution in order to maintain the eye’s proper shape and pressure level. It may also be necessary to reattach a severely detached retina.
Contact Us to Learn More about Diabetic Retinopathy Causes and Treatment
The friendly staff at Fishman & Sheridan eyeCare Specialists of Lake County, Florida is standing by to address your questions about diabetic retinopathy causes and diabetic retinopathy treatment. Our doctors in Leesburg, Eustis, and Clermont encourage you to schedule an appointment at our eye care practice to learn more about the disease and its treatment.