We’re here to make sure your eyes continue functioning properly for the long-term. Learning about diabetic retinopathy and scheduling eye examinations at Eye Centers of Florida can help with early detection, the first step in preserving your eyesight.
What is Diabetic Retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy is a condition that harms normal function of the retina (the back of the eye). When the retina cannot function properly, your quality of vision can decline or you can lose your vision completely.
What Causes Diabetic Retinopathy?
Elevated blood sugar levels, high blood pressure, and other lifestyle factors all contribute to the development of diabetic retinopathy.
When a person has elevated blood sugar levels for extended periods of time, it damages the capillaries that bring blood to the retina. Over time, this damage can cause the vessels to leak fluids and fats, resulting in swelling or closure. These changes in the blood vessels are the primary source of diabetic retinopathy symptoms and vision loss.
Diabetic Retinopathy Signs and Symptoms
It’s possible to have diabetic retinopathy and experience no symptoms at all. It’s important to have your eyes evaluated on a regular basis so that the disease can be detected early. Signs and symptoms of diabetic retinopathy include:
- Spots, dots or cobweb-like dark strings floating in your vision (called floaters)
- Blurred vision
- Vision that changes periodically from blurry to clear
- Blank or dark areas in your field of vision
- Poor night vision
- Colors appear washed out or different
- Vision loss
Can Diabetic Retinopathy Be Prevented?
There are several medical, dietary, and behavioral changes that can be implemented to minimize the impact and slow the progression of diabetic retinopathy. These steps can reduce your risk of vision loss and complications:
- Most importantly, keep blood sugar levels within target range
- Eat a healthy diet
- Monitor your blood sugar levels frequently
- Take insulin and other medications as prescribed by your doctor
- Keep your blood pressure within target range
- Have your eyes checked regularly and follow your eye doctor’s instructions
- Follow a healthy exercise program
Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment in Fort Myers
There is no cure for diabetic retinopathy, but in most cases, the eye care professionals at Eye Centers of Florida can slow or stop the progression of the disease. Ultimately, your vision depends on how early the disease is diagnosed and treated, which is why prevention and early detection are so important.
Here are some of the common treatments we provide for diabetic retinopathy:
- Medication injections: Steroid and anti-vascular growth medications can be injected painlessly into the eye. Both medications are designed to stabilize the blood vessels in the back of the eye that are commonly affected by diabetic retinopathy.
- Laser therapy: A laser can be used to stabilize the blood vessels that are being affected by diabetic retinopathy. This treatment can stop the progression of the disease, but it isn’t a cure.
- Focal/grid argon laser therapy: If you’re diabetic retinopathy is causing your eye to leak fluid, this treatment can prevent swelling and help reabsorb leaking fluid.
- Panretinal laser therapy: This treatment is used to decrease blocked blood vessels and reduce your chance of experiencing retinal neovascularization, which can lead to severe vision loss.
- Vitrectomy surgery: During vitrectomy surgery, an operating microscope and small surgical instruments are used to remove blood and scar tissue caused by abnormal vessels in the eye. Removing the vitreous hemorrhage allows light rays to pass through the eye and focus on the retina again.
How Much Does Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment Cost?
Because diabetic retinopathy is considered a medical issue, your eye exams and treatments are usually covered by most insurance plans. The team at Eye Centers of Florida can help make this determination if you need assistance.
Why Choose Eye Centers of Florida for Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment?
As a diabetic, keeping your eyes healthy requires you to frequently monitor your overall health — and this includes the health of your eyes. If you have diabetes and haven’t had a recent eye exam, schedule a diabetic retinopathy checkup to ensure your eyes are healthy.
If you suspect you may be suffering from diabetic retinopathy symptoms or would like to learn more about diabetic retinopathy causes and the different stages, book your evaluation at Eye Centers of Florida today.