Our South Bay Retina Get Answers Diabetic Retinopathy FAQ’s
Diabetic retinopathy is one of the most common types of diabetic eye conditions. At South Bay Retina, Dr. Keshav Narain is happy to answer your concerns and questions about this disease.
What Is Diabetic Retinopathy?
More than 60% of people with diabetes will develop diabetic retinopathy, a type of vision loss caused by damage to the retinas. The retina is a thin specialized tissue in the rear of the eye and contains light-sensitive cells that help you see.
What Causes Diabetic Retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy develops when chronically elevated and poorly controlled levels of blood sugar causes inflammation of the blood vessels behind your retinas. This inflammation causes the blood vessels to leak or become blocked. New blood vessels may grow to compensate, and these may also leak. All this can damage and scar the retinas. In severe and advanced stages, the retina may detach from the eye.
Multiple risk factors increase your risk of developing diabetic retinopathy, including a long history of diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and being of African, Hispanic, or Native American descent.
What Are the Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy doesn’t have symptoms in the beginning. When symptoms do develop, people often complain of:
- Floaters (little moving spots in your field of vision)
- Blurry vision
- Blind spots
- Decreased ability to see color or at night
If left untreated, diabetic retinopathy can lead to complete vision loss. This condition is actually the leading cause of new blindness among people between the ages of 20 and 74.
How Does an Ophthalmologist Manage Diabetic Retinopathy?
If you have diabetes, schedule a dilated eye exam at least once per year. We can detect early warning signs of diabetic retinopathy and other related vision problems (like cataracts and glaucoma). Early diagnosis, based on vision testing and internal/external eye assessment, allows us to initiate treatment sooner, which may help slow disease progression.
As a medical doctor, our ophthalmologist can offer a variety of evidence-based treatments to manage your diabetic retinopathy:
- Laser surgery to stop blood vessels from leaking or shrink them
- Medications injected into the eye to stop the growth of new blood vessels
- A procedure called vitrectomy, which removes scar tissue and blood inside the eye
- Prescription eyewear and implementation of low vision strategies
If you have diabetes but do not have diabetic retinopathy, our team can also give prevention tips to minimize your risk of developing it.
Do You Have Diabetes and Are Concerned About Eye Health?
Contact South Bay Retina at 408-294-3534 to schedule a dilated eye exam!