How is Diabetic Retinopathy Treated and Can it be Prevented?
In our last blog post, we explained some of the causes of diabetic retinopathy and talked about the importance of regular eye exams in order to detect signs of the condition at its earliest stages. Today, we will discuss whether this diabetic eye disease can be prevented and the treatment options available that can reduce the risk of severe vision impairment.
Elevated levels of blood sugar can ultimately lead to diabetic retinopathy, which can cause irreversible damage to the eye that results in impaired vision or even blindness. The symptoms of diabetic retinopathy typically do not present themselves until permanent damage has already set in; however, individuals who have diabetes can go a long way toward preventing the devastating effects of diabetic retinopathy by having a dilated eye exam at least once each year. This test will allow our ophthalmologist to see if there are any changes occurring in the retina. If so, our doctor will make recommendations designed to lower your blood sugar before major damage occurs. The chances of preventing serious vision loss from diabetic retinopathy can be greatly increased with diligent monitoring and control of blood sugar levels in addition to having annual dilated eye exams. Maintaining a healthy body weight, avoiding smoking, regular exercise, and watching your diet are also important steps toward prevention.
If diabetic retinopathy has been diagnosed, there are treatment options available that are designed to slow the progress of the condition and keep it from causing further harm to your vision. State-of-the-art laser procedures can target the affected eye tissue or seal off leaks of blood and fluid caused by diabetic retinopathy. They can also remove new blood vessels that form from the disease. Treatment methods other than laser techniques, such as corticosteroids, can be utilized to slow the growth of blood vessels as well. For many patients, these procedures can be very effective at minimizing the risk that the symptoms of diabetic retinopathy will get much worse.
Treatments for diabetic retinopathy can dramatically slow down the effects that it can have on your vision and potentially save your eyesight. That’s why it is crucial to have your eyes checked every year so that any signs of the condition are recognized and treatment can be performed to minimize the risk of debilitating vision impairment.