Treating Diabetic Retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy is the most common diabetic eye disease and a leading cause of blindness in American adults. It is caused by changes in the blood vessels of the retina. In some people with diabetic retinopathy, blood vessels may swell and leak fluid. In other people, abnormal new blood vessels grow on the surface of the retina.
The retina is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. A healthy retina is necessary for good vision. If you have diabetic retinopathy, at first you may not notice changes to your vision. But over time, diabetic retinopathy can get worse and cause total vision loss. Diabetic retinopathy usually affects both eyes. There are two types:
Nonproliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (NPDR)
This is the most treatable early stage of the disease when new blood vessels aren't proliferating. Left untreated, it can progress to proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR).
Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (PDR)
This is the advanced stage of the disease, where new blood vessels proliferate and grow inside the retina and may leak into the clear jelly-like vitreous that fills the center of your eyes. The pressure created can lead to glaucoma and damage the nerve that carries images to your brain.
With careful management of your diabetes and blood sugar, proper diet and exercise, you can avoid diabetic retinopathy entirely.
When you need an expert opinion on your vision health, call John Maher, MD, at (424) 328-0091.