Long-term high blood-sugar levels can damage blood vessels in the
retina, the nerve layer at the back of the eye that senses light and helps to send images to the brain. The damage to
retinal vessels is referred to as
Please click below for a brief but detailed animation.
There are two types of diabetic retinopathy:
Nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR) develops first. Blood vessels in the eye become larger in certain spots (microaneurysms). Blood vessels may also become blocked. There may be small amounts of retinal hemorrhages, and fluid may leak into the retina. This can lead to noticeable problems with your eyesight.
Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) is the more advanced and severe form of the disease. New blood vessels start to grow in the eye. These new vessels are fragile and can bleed (hemorrhage). Small scars develop, both on the retina and in other parts of the eye. The end result is vision loss, as well as other problems.
Following your comprehensive evaluation at Woolfson Eye Institute (WEI), we will review the best course of treatment based on your diagnosis and overall health. There are currently three major treatments for diabetic retinopathy, which are very effective in reducing vision loss from this disease. In fact, even people with advanced retinopathy have a 90 percent chance of keeping their vision when they get treatment before the retina is severely damaged. These three treatments are laser surgery, injection of triamcinolone into the eye, and vitrectomy. Although these treatments are very successful in slowing or stopping further vision loss, they do not cure diabetic retinopathy.
Although laser surgery is recommended for certain types of diabetic retinopathy, the best treatment is still to prevent the development of retinopathy as much as possible. A medical eye examination is the only way to detect changes inside your eye and can often diagnose and enable your WEI surgeons to treat serious retinopathy before you are aware of any vision problems.