Diabetic eye disease is a complication of diabetes that includes damage to the retina, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma. Diabetic retinopathy is responsible for around 90% of blindness due to a diabetic condition. It occurs when high amounts of sugar in the blood can cause damage to small blood vessels in the retina, which may lead to blindness. Diabetic retinopathy can be treated by laser surgery or injections into the eye to stop it from progressing and causing vision loss.
Diabetic retinopathy is responsible for around 90% of blindness due to a diabetic condition. It occurs when high amounts of sugar in the blood can cause damage to small blood vessels in the retina, which may lead to blindness. If you are at risk for diabetes, Dr. Melanie Frogozo, a diabetic eye disease specialist in San Antonio, can help you monitor your vision and treat it before it becomes severe. Here are some ways to manage the condition.
Making lifestyle changes can help to manage the condition. Eating healthy foods and getting regular exercise are crucial to reducing diabetes risk and stopping smoking. Keeping a healthy weight is also beneficial for preventing diabetic retinopathy. Finally, refraining from excessively drinking alcohol may lessen the likelihood of developing the disease, but it does not prevent it if already present.
In some cases, diabetic retinopathy can be watched without treatment. It is sometimes referred to as ‘watchful waiting’ and usually only occurs in the condition’s early stages. In this case, monitoring will occur every three or four months for at least two years to check for further development. If there is no progression in the disease within this time, it is unlikely to develop into blindness.
Laser surgery is often performed to prevent diabetic retinopathy from developing further. Laser treatment aims to seal off leaking blood vessels by heating them, preventing severe damage from being done to the retina. It usually takes place under a local anesthetic and involves inserting a tube into the patient’s mouth through which a laser is passed. The use of a laser reduces the risk of damage to the retina.
Injections into the eye can prevent further progression of the condition and cause blindness. They aim to reduce pressure in the eye, which is sometimes increased due to diabetic retinopathy. If performed early enough, injections may be great for preserving vision.
If damage is already present, you may require surgery to remove central areas of the retina. This surgery is called a vitrectomy and is usually carried out under a general anesthetic. The eye will then have a gas bubble injected into it to maintain its shape while the operation takes place. During surgery, a tiny knife is used to cut away the vitreous humor, a jelly-like substance that fills the inside of the eye. After surgery, a gas bubble will be left inside the eye, which gradually disappears over time.
In summary, diabetic eye disease is a complication that can lead to blindness. It occurs when high levels of sugar in the blood cause damage to small blood vessels in the retina, which may lead to blindness if left untreated. The treatment options for diabetic eye disease include surgery, laser treatment, watchful waiting, injections, and lifestyle changes.