Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment
Serving Edison and New Brunswick, New Jersey and all areas in Middlesex County, NJ
The educated person living with diabetes is aware that processing and storing sugars within the body is difficult and must be monitored. But what some diabetic patients may not know is that the blood vessels in the eyes can sustain damage when blood sugar routinely remains high. This damage can lead to diabetic retinopathy. Because of this, the longer you live with unstable diabetes, the higher your chances of developing diabetic retinopathy. Overall, diabetics are 25 times more likely to sustain vision loss than non-diabetics.
Signs and Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy
Not all diabetics will develop diabetic retinopathy, although all are at risk to some degree. In the early stages, the condition may be nearly undetectable. Symptoms can include:
- Floaters -- a possible sign of ocular hemorrhage
- Difficulty reading or performing up-close tasks, which may indicate macular edema – a build-up of fluid in the macula
- Double vision
If you are diabetic and experience any of these symptoms, the ophthalmologists in Middlesex County, NJ at Patel Eye Associates can examine your eyes to determine whether you are suffering from this dangerous condition.
We diagnose diabetic retinopathy using a test called fluorescein angiography, which uses a special dye that is injected into the body and appears illuminated within the retina. The retina is viewed and documented with a retinal camera. Evaluation and comparison of the images over time helps Edison ophthalmologists Dr. Hitesh K. Patel and Dr. Himanshu S. Shah monitor your eye health, perform early intervention, and chart the disease’s progression.
Causes of Diabetic Retinopathy
Unstable blood-sugar levels and long term diabetes increase the risk of diabetic retinopathy. In most cases, the condition develops slowly over years, though Dr. Patel cautions his diabetic patients against waiting for years to begin monitoring the eyes for disease. He encourages patients to have a dilated eye exam at least once a year following diagnosis.
Non-proliferative or background retinopathy is an early stage of the disease, when high blood sugar levels cause damaged vessels, and subsequent leakage or bleeding results in swelling of the retina.
Proliferative retinopathy, or late stage disease, produces new blood vessel growth along the surface of the retina. Because these new blood vessels can break or bleed into the vitreous (the clear gelatinous substance in the center of the eye), a much more serious form of the disease can develop, leading to blindness.
Treatments for Diabetic Retinopathy
The best treatment is prevention. Diabetics should visit Patel Eye Associates at least once a year for a dilated eye exam in order to catch diabetic retinopathy in its earliest stages. The American Academy of Ophthalmology reports early detection can help most people with diabetic retinopathy avoid blindness by providing early intervention.
Practice self care, including:
- Monitoring your blood sugar and blood pressure to keep both under control
- Maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise regimen
- Following your physician’s advice and recommendations
Other treatments for diabetic retinopathy include:
- Laser photocoagulation: A painless procedure which eliminates new growth and seals off leaking blood vessels
- Vitrectomy: A procedure to remove blood that has leaked into the vitreous, causing clouding vision
- Intravitreal Avastin injections: A more complete treatment than can be accomplished with other methods, producing fewer side effects that may result in vision loss
If you are diabetic, don’t put off caring for your vision until it is too late. Please contact the ophthalmologists in Edison at Patel Eye Associates today to schedule your initial diabetic retinopathy treatment consultation. We serve patients in Edison, New Brunswick and Middlesex County, New Jersey.