Diabetic Eye Disease

Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness for adults in the United States. Even with the best control of one’s blood sugar, a diabetic can still develop retinopathy. Some patients even have retinopathy at the time that they are first diagnosed with diabetes. Background diabetic retinopathy is an early stage of this condition. This type of retinopathy is manifested by damage of the small blood vessels in the retina, usually around the center of the retina (macula).

Leakage of blood causes hemorrhages in the retina, and leakage of fluid causes edema (swelling of the retina). Swelling of the retina can reduce vision and cause distortion. This condition often requires a test called flourescein angiography and laser photocoagulation is the treatment.

The more advanced form of diabetic retinopathy is proliferative retinopathy. Progressive ischemia (oxygen deprivation) of the diabetic retina causes the abnormal growth of blood vessels on the retinal surface (neovascularization). Though the blood vessels themselves often cause no change in vision, they can easily rupture and fill the eye with blood (vitreous hemorrhage). This is a major cause of catastrophic visual loss in a diabetic.

Here at Island Eye Surgery Specialists Dr Gerstenfeld and Dr Nejat care for thousands of diabetics. If any treatment is indicated we have an outstanding retina specialist on staff, Dr Paul Guerriero. He can perform flourescein angiography, any laser treatments that may be indicated, and injections of vision saving medications in our two office locations.

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