What is Diabetic Retinopathy?

Diabetic retinopathy is the most common diabetic eye condition. This condition occurs when blood vessels in the retina change, swell, leak fluid, or close completely. In some cases, new blood vessels may grow on the surface of the retina. In its early stages, diabetic retinopathy may cause no apparent symptoms, but if left untreated, it can cause blindness. The condition can appear in patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, and is more likely to develop if blood sugar is not regularly controlled.

Diabetic Retinopathy Symptoms

Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy range from floats in your line of vision, blurred vision, impaired color vision, dark or empty areas in your field of vision, and fluctuating vision. Patients who Marano Eye Care treat for diabetic retinopathy first begin with a dilated eye exam. During this exam, our team will look for abnormal blood vessels, swelling, blood, or fatty deposits in the retina, and growth of new blood vessels and scar tissue in the retina. A fluorescein angiography may be performed to take pictures of the retina to pinpoint the blood vessels that are closed, broken, or leaking.

Treatment Options for Diabetic Retinopathy

Early stages of diabetic retinopathy may not require treatment right away, but will remain closely monitored by the Marano Eye Care team. Good blood sugar control can often slow the development of diabetic retinopathy. In advanced cases, options for treatment may include a focal laser treatment or a scatter laser treatment. A focal laser treatment will treat leaking blood vessels through the use of photocoagulation. Scatter laser treatment also uses photocoagulation to stop leaks and bleeding from blood vessels, but will also aim to shrink the abnormal vessels in the retina. Because diabetic retinopathy is caused by diabetes, procedures will only be able to correct prior damage, and not fully prevent the issue from reoccurring.