An eye condition that results in changes to the blood vessels within the retina is known as diabetic retinopathy. The retina is the lining in the back of your eye that transitions light into images. However, these blood vessels may leak fluid, bleed, or even swell, resulting in changes in your vision or even blindness. Usually, both eyes are affected. If it is not treated promptly, your retina can suffer from scarring and other damage. That's why it's essential to maintain routine eye exams to diagnose diabetic retinopathy before symptoms set in. We provide the exams and treatment needed for diabetic retinopathy here at Palmetto Eye in Rock Hill, SC.
Causes and Symptoms
High blood sugar that is high for a long period of time can cause a blockage in the small blood vessels in the eye that work to keep your retina healthy. As a result, your eye will attempt to grow new blood vessels but will not develop normally. Instead, they will begin to weaken and leak fluid and blood into your retina. This can lead to a condition known as macular edema, which can result in blurry vision. More blood vessels can become blocked as your condition progresses. Scar tissue will begin to form, resulting in pressure which can cause retinal detachment or tearing.
It is possible not to notice any signs in the beginning stages of diabetic retinopathy. However, as the condition begins to worsen, you may notice symptoms such as:
- Blurry vision
- Black spots or holes in your vision
- Small spots or floaters in your vision resulting from bleeding
- Inability to see colors
- Loss of central vision, which is needed to drive and read
Our optometrists will be able to diagnose diabetic retinopathy during an eye exam. One of our eye doctors will perform a pupil dilation to look for any changes within your eye's blood vessels and check for any new growths and retinal detachment. We may also perform a fluorescein angiogram. This test is used to determine if you have severe diabetic retinopathy. It will show if any blood vessels in your eyes are damaged or leaking.
Medications may be prescribed to stop the growth of new blood vessels, decrease fluid buildup, or relieve other symptoms. If surgery is necessary, our team will recommend an experienced ophthalmologist for the procedure and provide pre- and post-op care. Other treatment options for diabetic retinopathy include:
- Anti-VEGF injections- These injections can reverse the blood vessel growths that are present and lower the buildup of fluid in your retina.
- Corticosteroids- These can either be injected or implanted into your eye. These are available for both short-term and long-term treatments.
Contact Us for Your Next Eye Exam in Rock Hill, SC
At Palmetto Eye, we understand how important it is to maintain proper eye care, especially when you have diabetes. Our team is highly experienced and committed to ensuring you maintain your vision and eliminate the risk of developing vision loss or other associated complications. Call our Rock Hill clinic today to learn more about how we can help.