About one-third of people with diabetes have signs of diabetic retinopathy, or have vision-threatening retinopathy complications, like macular edema. The retina specialists at Retina Consultants of Austin are leaders in the field of diabetic retinopathy, and they offer the most advanced solutions to protect your eye health. They have offices in Austin, Lakeway, Marble Falls, and Round Rock, Texas, so call the one nearest you or schedule an appointment online today.
Diabetic retinopathy is an eye disease in which elevated blood sugar levels lead to damage within the tiny blood vessels that supply the retina at the back of the eye. It’s the most common diabetic eye disease, affecting about 33% of people with diabetes. More than 20% of people with Type 2 diabetes have retinopathy when diagnosed.
The two types of retinopathy are:
Non-proliferative retinopathy, the early stage of the disease, occurs when the retinal blood vessels weaken, swell, and become blocked. The blood vessels may also leak blood, protein, and fluid into the retina.
The more that blood vessels become blocked, the more severe the disease. In some cases, blood vessel damage may trigger fluid accumulation in the middle of the retina (macular edema).
Proliferative retinopathy (advanced or late-stage retinopathy) occurs when the body responds to retina damage by growing fragile new blood vessels.
The rupture-prone blood vessels can leak blood into the eye, causing considerable vision loss. Eventually, your eye can develop tough scar tissue due to this blood vessel rupture and cause the retina to pull away from the back of your eye (retinal detachment).
Proliferative retinopathy can also cause problems with fluid flow within the eye, leading to increased inner-eye pressure and glaucoma.
Both types of retinopathy may require treatment to prevent vision loss.
How is retinopathy treated?
Treatment depends on the type and stage of your retinopathy. The providers at Retina Consultants of Austin are renowned retinopathy experts who offer full-spectrum care for the disease.
Mild non-proliferative retinopathy may not require immediate treatment, but your provider may monitor you regularly to ensure the disease isn’t progressing to the proliferative form. Proliferative retinopathy and diabetic macular edema often require nonsurgical treatments like injections to block the growth of abnormal blood vessels or laser treatment (photocoagulation) to seal leaking blood vessels.
In some cases, retinopathy requires surgery, called vitrectomy, to remove the vitreous gel in the eye and restore the retina’s position.
The practice also participates in clinical trials regularly, giving patients every opportunity to try emerging treatments for retinopathy.
Call Retina Consultants of Austin or schedule an appointment online today to learn more about retinopathy treatment options.