Treating Diabetic Retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy is a serious condition that can lead to vision problems and blindness. Our doctors in Philadelphia, PA, can diagnose and treat this eye condition to protect your eyesight. If you have diabetes, it is vital that you are regularly screened to prevent vision loss. Our office provides easy-access locations with convenient hours, including evening and Saturday appointment options, to make treatment a comfortable fit for your busy schedule.
Diabetic retinopathy can result in many serious issues affecting the blood vessels that nourish the retina.
What is Diabetic Retinopathy?
Chronic or poorly controlled high blood sugar can result in damage to the blood vessels in the retina. The retina is the thin layer of tissue in the back of the eye that receives incoming light and sends signals to your brain through the optic nerve. These signals are perceived as images.
Diabetic retinopathy occurs when the damaged blood vessels leak blood and other fluids into your retina, causing swelling and blurry vision. The blood vessels can become blocked, scar tissue can develop, and retinal detachment can eventually occur. The condition is easiest to treat in the early stages, which is why it is important to undergo routine eye exams.
Signs and Symptoms
Diabetics should seek treatment right away if they experience:
- Blurry, cloudy vision
- Floaters or dark spots in their field of vision
- Loss of central vision, especially when reading and driving
- Trouble driving or seeing at night
- Fluctuating vision
- Compromised color vision
- Vision loss
You are at high risk for developing diabetic retinopathy if you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes and:
- Have poorly controlled diabetes
- Have high blood pressure
- Have high cholesterol
- Are Hispanic or African American
If you are pregnant and experiencing gestational diabetes, you may also be at a higher risk of developing diabetic retinopathy.
If you have diabetes, it is vital that you are regularly screened to prevent vision loss.
Diagnosing and Treating Diabetic Retinopathy
During your routine eye exam, the doctor will review your medical history for diabetes and perform a series of tests on your retina and macula. Common evaluations include testing your central vision, testing your pupil for proper dilation, and measuring the pressure within your eye. The doctor will also determine if there is any vision loss by comparing your previous prescription to your current prescription status.
If necessary, our doctors can also perform retinal photography and fluorescein angiography to check the current status of your retina and determine if detachment has occurred. It can also reveal whether there are any damaged blood vessels or abnormal growths. The sooner diabetic retinopathy is diagnosed, you have a greater chance of stabilizing your vision and preventing complete vision loss.
Our doctors at Ophthalmology Physicians & Surgeons, PC provide laser treatment and vitrectomy to treat diabetic retinopathy. Also known as photocoagulation, lasers can be used to stop blood and fluid leakage from the blood vessels into the retina.
If retinal detachment has occurred, or if there is significant blockage within the center of the eye, the doctor will use specialized tools to remove blood, vitreous gel, and scar tissue.
Have You Been Diagnosed with Diabetes?
If you have recently been diagnosed with diabetes or have been managing it for many years, it is important to have your eyes checked regularly for diabetic retinopathy. Contact our office online or call (215) 672-4300 to schedule your consultation.