Unless advised to have more frequent examinations, every diabetic should have a complete eye examination once a year. It’s a good idea for diabetics to cover each eye for a few seconds every day and make sure that the other eye appears to be seeing well.
Diabetic Macular Edema is a thickening of the Macula (the central part of the retina that gives the clearest vision). It is caused by leakage of retinal vascular structures which are damaged by elevated blood sugar. Swelling of the macula, abnormal yellow exudates and hemorrhage in the macula. It is detected with special tests such as Ocular Coherence Tomography (OCT) and Fluorescein Angiography.
Diabetic Macular Edema is treated with Intraocular Injections of anti-Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) medications and/or Laser treatments. The treatment stops leaking in the macula.
In Ischemic Diabetic Macular Disease the blood vessels providing nutrition to the macula become narrowed and closed. Laser and anti-VEGF medications do not help treat Ischemic Diabetic Macular Disease. While in the early stage, this eye disease can change the retina of the eye. These changes are classified as proliferative and non-proliferative retinopathy.
Yes, visually impairing cataracts are more common in diabetics than in people without cataracts. Cataracts in diabetics that cause impairment of important visual functions such as seeing to drive or read can usually be effectively treated with cataract surgery. Cataract surgery does not treat diabetic retinopathy; but sometimes cataract surgery can make it easier to treat diabetic retinopathy.
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In proliferative diabetic retinopathy, new abnormal blood vessels grow in the diabetic retina that can bleed, fibrose, and detach the retina. This is a condition that could dramatically affect your sight. The abnormal growth of blood vessels also increase a risk for macular edema.
Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy is treated with laser photocoagulation, intraocular injection of anti-VEGF medication, and/or surgery to remove the vitreous gel. The goal of the treatments is to prevent any further vision loss. Controlling your blood sugar can also reduce its progression.
Keeping your diabetes in control can prevent or delay the onset of diabetic eye disease. Regular examinations by Dr. Sondheimer can help detect diabetic eye and lead to earlier, more effective treatments.
Surgical removal of the vitreous is necessary when blood in the vitreous does not resolve, when the retina detaches, when proliferative diabetic eye disease can’t be controlled with laser treatment, and when there is severe scarring of the retina.