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Treating Diabetic Retinopathy

diabetic retinopathyDiabetes Eye Exams and Eye Care for Copperas Cove and Killeen, TX

Diabetes of any type: type 1, type 2 or gestational diabetes, can affect the health of your eyes. One complication that may be caused is diabetic retinopathy. Particularly when diabetes is not controlled well and blood sugar levels remain elevated for long periods, injury may be caused to retinal blood vessels. When undetected or left untreated, this retinal damage can progress to loss of vision or blindness. At Cove Eyecare, our knowledgeable and caring Killeen eye doctor will monitor and treat diabetic retinopathy. If you have diabetes, we are dedicated and experienced in preserving your long-lasting, clear vision!

How does diabetes impact your eyes?

Excess amounts of sugar flowing through your circulatory system may cause blockage in the small, fragile blood vessels of your eyes. These “clogs” interfere with efficient blood flow to your retina. In response, your eye will try to grow new blood vessels. Yet the new vessels are generally thin and weaker than normal healthy vessels, and they tend to leak fluid. The longer you’ve had diabetes and the more poorly controlled your blood glucose levels are – the higher your risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. We encourage all patients with diabetes to come in for routine eye exams by our professional Copperas Cove optometrist.

What are the warning signs of diabetic retinopathy?

During the beginning stages of this disease, no symptoms are usually experienced. The only dependable way to detect or rule out early diabetic retinopathy is with a comprehensive eye exam using today’s latest technology.

As diabetic retinopathy progresses, a number of symptoms may emerge, such as:

  • Blurry eyesight
  • Dark spots in your vision
  • Floaters (floating spots or strings) that suddenly appear in your sight
  • Fluctuating sight
  • Poor color vision
  • Vision loss

If you notice any of these symptoms, please call our office for an appointment with Dr. Micheline D. Young, our skilled Killeen eye doctor.

Is all diabetic retinopathy the same?

No. There are two distinct types: Nonproliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (NPDR), and Advanced Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy.

Nonproliferative retinopathy is the more common form of the disease. While new blood vessels are not being grown, the walls of your retinal blood vessels become weak. Eventually, they leak blood and fluid. Inflammation of retinal nerve fibers may also appear.

Advanced proliferative retinopathy is less common, yet more extreme. As this disease progresses, your healthy blood vessels may close. New, abnormal vessels then develop in the retina. Elevated fluid pressure, glaucoma and retinal detachment are all possible risks.

How do we treat diabetic retinopathy?

Our Killeen eye doctors will examine your eyes closely with a dilated eye exam. We will use advanced diagnostic technology and the latest digital imagery to inspect your retina and eye tissues. Treatment can only be determined after we evaluate your personal condition.

If you are diagnosed with a mild case of nonproliferative retinopathy, immediate treatment may not be necessary. We will instruct you to come regularly for eye exams to monitor the disease and the condition of your eyes. It is critical to maintain proper blood sugar control, as many scientific studies show that controlling diabetes can slow or stop the progression of retinopathy. Your endocrinologist can help with improving daily management of diabetes.

Proliferative retinopathy generally requires surgery. Our Copperas Cove optometrist may advise focal laser procedures to stop leakage from damaged blood vessels. This surgery is typically performed as an outpatient procedure and can be highly effective at preventing vision loss. Scatter surgery is another laser surgery that may be done; it helps eliminate abnormal blood vessels. If you need a vitrectomy to replace your inner eye gel, this surgery must be performed in a hospital, under general or local anesthesia.

Cutting-edge treatment for diabetic retinopathy includes medications, such as injections, that target the abnormal vessels. A broad range of extraordinary treatments for diabetic retinopathy is currently on the horizon.

How is diabetic retinopathy managed over the long-term?

Surgery and medication are not cures for diabetic retinopathy. Diabetes is a chronic condition that must be controlled constantly to prevent the need for more eye treatments in the future. An important part of your long-term care is regular Killeen eye exams to monitor your ocular health. With expert skill and comprehensive knowledge of how to treat diabetic retinopathy, our Killeen eye doctors will take care of your eyes and vision. If you have diabetic retinopathy, call Cove Eyecare to reserve an appointment today! Proudly serving the Fort Hood area.