What is Diabetic Retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy is the eye disease caused by diabetes. It affects almost every patient with diabetes. While it can cause blindness if not detected, it rarely causes severe vision loss in those patients who seek timely evaluation and treatment.
At the VMR Institute, we suggest regular visits and offer the most modern treatment to detect early disease and prevent blindness.
A complication of diabetes, diabetic retinopathy is one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States. At the VMR Institute, we offer diabetic retinopathy treatment for our patients in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas.
There are two ways diabetes can cause loss of vision. The most common pathway involves swelling of the macula. Diabetes can cause the normal blood vessels within the retina to leak. If the leakage occurs in the macula, blurry vision develops. The macula is the functional center of the retina and provides us with our sharpest vision to read and look straight ahead. The macula also gives us most of our color perception.
Less frequently, abnormal blood vessels start growing on the surface of the retina or other internal parts of the eye. This “neovascularization” is the hallmark of “proliferative diabetic” retinopathy. This is the potentially blinding stage of diabetic retinopathy.
Every patient with diabetes should be examined annually looking for signs of macular edema or proliferative diabetic retinopathy.
Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy can cause anything from slightly blurry vision to blindness. Ideally, we desire to diagnose the disease while you are still 20/20. Diabetic retinopathy can exist and cause no changes in vision, so might have it and may not even know it!
Because diabetic retinopathy can go unnoticed for long periods of time, it is very important that those with a long history of diabetes, especially poorly-controlled diabetes, to undergo diagnostic testing and regular examination.
Treatments for Diabetic Retinopathy
Treatments for diabetic retinopathy are geared at limiting swelling (macular edema) and preventing progression of the neovascularization.
Macular edema has long been treated with laser, but newer treatments involve injections of steroids, sustained release devices and anti-VEGF medications such as Lucentis, Eylea, and Avastin.
Treatment for proliferative diabetic retinopathy may involve similar injections of anti-VEGF, laser treatment and/or vitreo-retinal surgery.
Latest Diabetic Retinopathy Treatments
New tests are being developed at VMR Institute,in collaboration with The Doheny Eye Institute/UCLA, CalTech in Pasadena, Columbia University, and Riverside Research in New York. These modern diagnostic tests available at VMR Institute give us the ability to detect diabetic retinopathy at its very early stages, allowing for quick treatment and preventing eyesight loss.
Please Contact our office to learn more.