Diabetes patients are more likely to develop eye problems like cataracts. However, the primary threat to vision is the disease’s effects on the retina. Diabetes can cause damage to the retina’s circulatory system, a condition known as diabetic retinopathy.
The retina’s blood vessels weaken and leak in their early stages. Leaking vessels can cause swelling or edema in the retina, leading to decreased vision. This diabetes-related eye problem can worsen and cause circulation issues that lead to areas of the retina becoming oxygen-deprived or ischemic.
Neovascularization is the creation of new, fragile vessels to maintain sufficient oxygen within the retina. These fragile vessels can easily hemorrhage, allowing blood to leak into your vitreous. This can cause vision problems such as floaters and decreased vision. In later stages of this diabetes-related eye problem, abnormal vessel growth and scar tissue can cause severe issues such as retinal detachment.
How We Treat Diabetes-Related Eye Problems
Routine eye exams are essential for diabetic patients as they can help treat diabetes-related eye problems early. To monitor the disease’s progress and to make treatment decisions, retina specialists use a variety of tests. Diabetic macular edema is the most common cause of vision loss. Laser treatment prevents further vision loss by closing the leaking blood vessels (focal Photocoagulation). Pan retinal photocoagulation (PRP) and vitrectomy are two common methods for treating proliferative diabetic retinopathy.
PRP is a laser surgery that destroys oxygen-deprived retinal tissue outside the patient’s central sight. Although this treatment can cause blind spots in peripheral vision, PRP stops the growth of fragile vessels. It also seals any that leak.
Vitrectomy is performed to remove blood clots in the vitreous, a gel-like substance found at the center of the eye. A vitrectomy is when the retina surgeon removes blood and vitreous from an eye and replaces them with a clear saline solution. If necessary, the surgeon may remove strands of vitreous that attach to the retina and cause traction. This can lead to retinal detachments.
Patients with diabetes who can maintain a healthy blood sugar level have fewer diabetes-related eye problems than patients with poor control. Patients with diabetes can reduce the risk of developing eye problems by having their eyes checked annually by an eye doctor.
Call Retina & Vitreous to Treat Your Diabetes-Related Eye Problems
The retina specialists at Retina & Vitreous of Louisiana can treat your diabetes-related eye problems and restore your vision. Call today to make an appointment.