Diabetic Eye Disease

Diabetic eye disease includes a higher risk for the development of cataracts and glaucoma, but it is the greatest threat to the health of the retina. Diabetic retinopathy is the one of the most common diabetic eye disease and a leading cause of blindness in American adults. There are no symptoms in the early stages of the disease, nor is there any pain.

Diabetes is a multisystem condition that can affect the eyes. When the blood vessels in the retina (the nerve layer at the back of the eye) are damage it is referred to as diabetic retinopathy. There are two types of diabetic retinopathy: (NPDR) nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy and (PDR) proliferative diabetic retinopathy. An early stage of diabetic retinopathy is known as background diabetic retinopathy. When tiny blood vessels within the retina leak blood or fluid it is called macular edema; when small blood vessels close it is called macular ischemia or capillary nonperfusion. When enough nonperfusion of the retina occurs, development of abnormal retinal vessel results in (PDR) proliferative diabetic retinopathy. Bleeding (Vitreous Hemorrhage) and Tractional retinal detachments may occur. Treatment for these conditions run the spectrum for focal to pan retinal laser and retinal detachment scleral buckle to vitrectomy surgery with use of surgical membranectomy, endolaser, silicone oil/gas.

If you are diabetic, regular examination by an ophthalmologist who specializes in diabetic eye disease should be a routine part of your treatment.