Retinal disease is any condition of the retina that results in loss of vision. Of the roughly 12 million Americans who suffer from diabetes, an estimated 90% will develop diabetic retinopathy.
Diabetic retinopathy is damage to the retina caused by diabetes, which can eventually lead to blindness. It is an eye condition which affects up to 80% of patients who have had diabetes for 10 years or more. Research indicates that at least 90% of these cases could be reduced with proper treatment and regular eye exams.
Floaters can be a sign of diabetic retinopathy. Sometimes difficulty reading or doing close work can indicate that fluid is collecting in the macula, the most light-sensitive part of the retina. This fluid build-up is called macular edema. Another sign is double vision. If you experience any of these signs, contact us immediately. Diabetics should see their eye doctor at least once a year for a dilated eye exam.
High blood sugar can damage blood vessels in the retina, causing them to leak fluid or bleed. This causes the retina to swell and form deposits. In later stages, new blood vessels grow on the surface of the retina causing serious vision problems.
Diabetic retinopathy can be treated with laser photocoagulation – using laser surgery to seal off leaking blood vessels and remove unwanted tissue. Laser photocoagulation is painless and is performed as an outpatient procedure.