Diabetic retinopathy is a diabetic eye disease characterized by damage to the retina due to diabetes mellitus. Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes and a history of uncontrolled blood sugar levels can lead to this disease. According to the National Eye Institute, diabetic retinopathy is one of the most common reasons of blindness in the United States.
Types of Retinopathy
- Non-proliferative type: Also known as background retinopathy, this type of diabetic retinopathy is called nonproliferation because the eyes do not make any new blood vessels during the early stage of the disease.
- Proliferative or advanced retinopathy: This disease is is characterized by the growth of new blood vessels within the retina. Usually, these new blood vessels are abnormal and grow in the center of the eye.
Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy
In most cases, the symptoms do not appear until the major damage of the eye has occurred. This means that you may not notice the symptoms of diabetic retinopathy until it is too late. However, there are still certain signs that you should pay attention to:
- Sudden loss of vision
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty distinguishing colors
- Difficulty seeing at night
- Seeing dark spots or floaters
Our ophthalmologist will be able to diagnose retinopathy by performing a dilated eye exam. Our eye doctor will apply special eye drops to open your pupils wide. This will allow our ophthalmologist to see what is occurring inside of your eyes. Our eye doctor will proceed to check for swelling, scarring, abnormal blood vessels, changes to the lens, blocked blood vessels, leaking of the blood vessels, and damage to the nerve tissue.
Treatment options are limited and depend on how severe the retinopathy is. Among the most effective eye care options is photocoagulation, which involves the use of a special laser. This laser seals blood vessels by stopping their leakage or burning. Diabetic retinopathy can also be avoided by making the following changes to your lifestyle:
- Quit smoking if you are a smoker
- Get regular exercise
- Visit your eye clinic regularly for eye exams
Ophthalmologist in Oxford and Raleigh, NC
New Century Ophthalmology opened its doors in Oxford NC in 2001. The second location was opened in Raleigh NC in 2009. Our clinic specializes in the treatment of eye diseases and surgery of the retina and vitreous. For more information on eye care for diabetic retinopathy or to schedule an eye exam, call us or request an appointment online.