Diabetes Retinopathy Treatmentin Huntington Beach
19671 Beach Blvd. Suite 400 Huntington Beach, California 92648
A very common disease in the United States, diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in adults under the age of 65. Diabetic Retinopathy is a disease of the blood vessels in the delicate tissue called the retina. (The retina acts like film in a camera and does the actual sensing of the light within the eye). With diabetic retinopathy, retinal vessels become incompetent and leak fluid and blood, thus failing to supply the nutrients necessary for good health in the retina.
Our eye doctors at Clarity Eye Group in Huntington Beach can help save your vision from the devastating effects of diabetic retinopathy. Early diagnosis and treatment are key to preserving your eyesight. Make sure you schedule a comprehensive eye exam with our specialists every year.
Diabetic Retinopathy can affect patients with both Type I (juvenile onset) or Type II (adult onset) diabetes. Younger diabetics are usually free of retinopathy for at least the first 5 years after onset of the diabetic condition.
Forms of Diabetic Retinopathy
Basically, retinopathy is divided into two forms (1) NON-PROLIFERATIVE (NPDR) or background retinopathy and (2) PROLIFERATIVE RETINOPATHY (PDR), NPDR consists of hemorrhages, leaky-spots and small dilation in the vessel walls. PDR is all of that plus NEW BLOOD VESSELS. These new vessels are always abnormal and will leak and bleed if left untreated. About 40% of all diabetics will develop PDR over a 15-year time span.
Other factors contribute to the progression of diabetic retinopathy. This list includes HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE, LEVELS OF CHOLESTERL and TRIGLYCERIDES in the blood stream, and the other previously mentioned complications of diabetes. Each of these factors must be controlled as best as possible to assist in the treatment of retinopathy. Regular examinations are critical for early diagnosis and therapy. We now have more to offer diabetics than ever before. Most do well, and vision can be preserved in the majority of patients, but cooperation via regular eye exams is needed to control the disease.
Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment
The most common cause of decreased vision with diabetes is NPDR, with swelling in the retina from leaky blood vessels. This is very difficult to treat, but with focal applications of LASER light to seal these leaks, vision may be preserved and occasionally improved. PDR poses a very serious threat to vision as well. Large hemorrhages may obscure vision for months at a time. When found, these new abnormal vessels should be treated with LASER therapy. Retinal detachments can also occur because of traction created by the new vessels.
Diabetic Retinopathy FAQs
What Are the Risk Factors for Diabetic Retinopathy?
Anyone diagnosed with diabetes types I or II can develop diabetic retinopathy, and your risk increases the longer you have the medical condition. Diabetes management is directly related to your risk for diabetic retinopathy. Uncontrolled blood sugar levels damage many areas of your body, including the eyes.
High blood pressure, high cholesterol, pregnancy and tobacco use are considered risk factors for the eye disease. If you are Black, Native American or Hispanic, you have an increased likelihood of developing diabetic retinopathy.
Can I Prevent Diabetic Retinopathy?
For many, diabetic retinopathy is an inevitable consequence of having diabetes. However, you can prolong its development and avoid severe vision loss through lifestyle changes and paying close attention to your health. Here are some tips:
- Maintain proper diabetes management through healthy, balanced meals and snacks and regular physical activity. Cut back on sugar, fat and salt.
- Reach and maintain a healthy weight for your body type.
- Monitor and record your blood sugar level as often as directed by your doctor and be extra diligent during stress or illness.
- Check your A1C through your doctor using the hemoglobin A1C test to determine the average range for your blood sugar level over a two- to three-month span.
- Manage your blood pressure and cholesterol through exercise (aim for at least 150 minutes a week), weight loss and medication, if needed.
- Quit smoking or using any form of tobacco as it increases your risk for diabetes complications and severe health concerns.
- Pay close attention to your health, including your vision. Contact our eye doctors if you notice sudden changes in your eyesight, such as blind spots, blurriness or haziness.
Annual dilated eye exams at Clarity Eye Group can prevent diabetic retinopathy from stealing your vision. Timely diagnosis and treatment are essential.
How is Diabetic Retinopathy Diagnosed?
Diabetic retinopathy is typically diagnosed during your dilated eye exam at Clarity Eye Group. During this appointment our eye doctors widen (dilate) your pupils to gain a complete view of your eye’s anatomy and look for abnormalities. Your eye exam includes fluorescein angiography, which involves injection of a dye into your arm to understand how fluid circulates in your eye’s blood vessels. Images are taken to identify blood vessels in the retina that may be broken, leaking or closed.
Optical coherence tomography (OCT), another diagnostic test used during your eye exam, takes cross-sectional images to determine if fluid has leaked into the tissues and measures retinal thickness. The OCT test can also monitor how well your diabetic retinopathy treatment is working.
Schedule Your Dilated Eye Exam to Screen for Diabetic Retinopathy
If you have diabetes, regular dilated eye exams are crucial to maintaining your vision. Schedule your diabetic eye screening at Clarity Eye Group in Huntington Beach today to meet with one of our skilled eye doctors.