Diabetic Retinopathy

An Overview of Diabetic Retinopathy

Type 1 and type 2 diabetes can cause several complications in the body, including the eyes. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to an eye problem called diabetic retinopathy, and it is characterized by the damage of the blood vessels in the retina. If you have diabetes, it is imperative that you schedule regular eye care visits with Curtis R. Anderson, O.D. Our optometrist in Lawrence can conduct an eye exam to determine if you have this condition.

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Who Is at Risk for Diabetic Retinopathy?

Anyone with diabetes can develop diabetic retinopathy. However, certain factors can put you at greater risk, and they include:

  • The length of time that you have had diabetes
  • Poor blood sugar control
  • Pregnancy
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Using tobacco
  • Race: African-Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans have a higher chance of getting this condition

What Are the Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy?

In the early stages, you might not experience any symptoms at all. As the condition progresses, however, you could endure the following symptoms:

  • Blurry vision
  • Fluctuating vision
  • Dark spot or strings in your field of vision, called floaters
  • Impaired color vision
  • Dark spots in your vision
  • Permanent vision loss

How Is Diabetic Retinopathy Diagnosed?

Our optometrist in Lawrence can detect diabetic retinopathy during your annual eye exam. Dr. Anderson will dilate your pupils to get a better view of your eye and then check for abnormal blood vessels, growth of new blood vessels or scar tissue, and any abnormalities in the optic nerve. If our eye doctor suspects that you have diabetic retinopathy, he will run a couple more tests.

  • Fluorescein angiography: During this test, an eye doctor will inject dye called fluorescein into your arm, which will move to the blood vessels in the eye. The doctor will then use a special camera to take pictures of the retina. This helps show if any blood vessels are closed or leaking fluid.
  • Optical coherence tomography: This test will determine if there is fluid leaking from the blood vessels and into the retinal tissue.

How Is Diabetic Retinopathy Treated?

In the early stages, our optometrist in Lawrence may just want to keep an eye on your condition. As the disease advances, there are treatment options available.

  • Focal laser photocoagulation: This is a laser treatment that can stop or slow down the blood leaking in the eye.
  • Scatter laser treatment: This is another laser treatment designed to shrink abnormal blood vessels.
  • Vitrectomy: During this surgical procedure, an eye surgeon would make a tiny incision in your eye to remove blood from the vitreous.
  • Medication injections: Medication can be injected into your eye to stop new blood vessels from growing.

Have Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy? Call Us to Book an Eye Exam

If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, it is important that you see our optometrist in Lawrence for an eye exam. Curtis R Anderson, O.D., offers comprehensive eye exams, glasses and contacts, pediatrics exams, and so much more to meet your eye care needs. To schedule an appointment, give us a call today at 785-843-8200.