Diabetes and Retinal Disease: Facts, Detection and Treatment

If you or a loved one suffers from diabetes, it’s important to know how diabetes can impact eye health. Those who suffer from diabetes may have cataracts or glaucoma. An even more serious threat to their vision is a retinal disease called diabetic retinopathy.

The retina is a very thin layer of tissue, which lines the inside of the eye. The retina is responsible for absorbing light rays that enter the eye. Then, these signals are sent to the brain.

Diabetic Retinopathy: A Leading Cause of Blindness

The National Eye Institute has identified diabetic retinopathy as one of the leading causes of blindness. Diabetic retinopathy is damage that occurs to the blood vessels in the retina. It is the most common eye disease for those with diabetes.

Over time, diabetes will impact retinal health. A person may suffer from diabetes for decades before the first sign of retinopathy occurs.

● First stage: Background diabetic retinopathy. Weakened blood vessels in the retina that leak and form tiny, dot-like hemorrhages often lead to the first phase of retinal disease. As the vessels leak, they cause swelling in the retina, which also causes decreased vision.

● Second stage: Proliferative diabetic retinopathy. As the disease progresses, circulation problems in the retina cause it to become oxygen deprived. Fragile vessels form in an effort to maintain oxygen it is losing. These new vessels hemorrhage easily. Eventually, blood begins to leak into the retina, causing spots (or “floaters”) and an even further decrease in vision.

● Later stages of diabetic retinopathy. As the disease progresses, scar tissue can develop, causing problems such as retinal detachment and glaucoma.

Effective In-Patient Procedures for Retinal Problems

If you or a loved one has diabetes and are experiencing vision problems, Eastside Eye Associates/Tribeca Eye Physicians can help. With more than 30 years practicing ophthalmology, we use state-of-the-art technology to detect and treat retinal problems.

The experienced ophthalmologists and optometrists at East Side Eye Associates (212-861-6200) and Tribeca Eye Associates (212-693-7200) specialize in all of these conditions. To improve your vision while you work at your computer, call us now.