Patients who suffer from diabetes are vulnerable to conditions throughout the body, including diabetic eye disease. Diabetic eye disease may result in cataracts or glaucoma. However, the most common form of diabetic eye disease is diabetic retinopathy. It is extremely important for patients with diabetes to maintain a regular routine of yearly eye exams, as this condition can lead to blurred vision and even blindness. At Dr. Paul H. Chen’s Carlsbad practice, North County Laser Eye Associates, we are experienced in diagnosing and treating diabetic retinopathy.
A patient with diabetes can be suffering from diabetic retinopathy without experiencing any symptoms of the disease. That is why, for our patients in Carlsbad, eye exams are crucial, especially for those patients with diabetes. A comprehensive dilated eye exam allows Dr. Chen to diagnose diabetic retinopathy at any stage of the condition. For those patients who do experience symptoms, they are likely to include any of the following:
- Blurred vision
- Spots in the vision
- Blocked vision
- Retinal swelling (macular edema)
The spots or blockage that patients may experience are a result of blocked blood vessels in the eye that begin to leak blood. If diabetic retinopathy is left untreated, it can result in vision impairment or even blindness. That is why it is vital for the condition to be treated as soon as it is diagnosed, preferably in its earliest stages.
The form of treatment required for diabetic retinopathy will be dependent on how far advanced the condition has become. For patients experiencing the earliest stages of diabetic retinopathy, treatment may not be needed. Patients in these stages may be able to prevent the progression of the condition by controlling their blood sugar, blood pressure, and blood cholesterol levels. For our patients in Carlsbad, laser eye surgery or injections of medicine into the eye will be necessary when the condition is more advanced.
There are two laser surgery techniques that are typically used in the treatment of diabetic retinopathy â€“ scatter laser treatment and focal laser treatment.
- Scatter laser treatment: Scatter laser eye treatment is performed to shrink abnormal blood vessels that are present in the eye. Scatter laser treatment may require multiple sessions in order to achieve optimal results. This treatment may result in a slight reduction of color and night vision, but it should successfully save a patientâ€™s central eye sight. Results from scatter laser treatment are most successful before bleeding has occurred but may still be possible after a patient has experienced some bleeding.
- Focal laser treatment: Focal laser treatment is performed to reduce the amount of fluid in the macula. This treatment can often be completed in one session but patients may require additional treatments later on. Focal laser treatment can reduce the chances of central vision loss by up to 50 percent.
Schedule a Consultation
If you suffer from diabetes and do not maintain regular eye exams, now is the time to start. Early detection is the key to avoiding eye loss due to diabetic retinopathy. Patients who have already experienced the symptoms of diabetic retinopathy should schedule a consultation with Dr. Chen to discuss treatment through laser eye surgery. Let our experts protect the future of your vision.