Diabetic retinopathy is one of the leading causes of blindness and impaired vision. Approximately 30 million U.S. citizens have diabetes, with about 8 million struggling with diabetic retinopathy. At Kilgo Eyecare, we use the most advanced imaging technology to identify problems in your vision caused by diabetic retinopathy and recommend the best course of action. Dr. Kilgo, our optometrist at Kilgo Eyecare, is an exceptional eye care specialist serving Asheville, Fletcher, Brevard, Weaverville, Hendersonville, and the surrounding areas.
What Is Diabetic Retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy is an eye disease that only affects people struggling with diabetes. It occurs when the fragile eye blood vessels that supply the retina break and begin to leak. A person with diabetes may not notice any changes in their vision during the early stages of this disease, not until the retina is severely damaged. That is why our eye doctor recommends controlling blood pressure, blood sugar, and visiting an eye specialist regularly for a checkup. The longer you’ve had diabetes, the greater your risk for having diabetic retinopathy is.
Types of Diabetic Retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy can be categorized into two different types:
- Non-proliferative Retinopathy - early-stage damage characterized by swollen and broken eye blood vessels that are leaking fluid into the retina. If undetected, the condition worsens, causing severe eye damage.
- Proliferative Retinopathy - characterized by blocked blood vessels which consequently interrupt the flow of blood into the retina. In response, the retina grows new blood vessels to restore blood flow. However, the new vessels are typically weak and easily break and leak, causing scar tissue formation and blindness.
How Does Diabetic Retinopathy Cause Blindness and Vision Impairment?
The two ways that diabetic retinopathy cause vision loss is:
- Macular Edema – an eye condition caused by swelling of the retina due to leakage of blood vessels. It results in distorted and blurry vision.
- Proliferative Retinopathy – a disorder that is caused by the growth of new weak blood vessels that leak into the retina. If not treated, the condition can cause total blindness.
Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy
- Dark spots in your visual field
- Blurred vision that worsens with time
- Decreased visual sharpness
- Reduced color vision
Diagnosis and Treatment
Routine eye examinations can detect this eye disorder in its early initial stages and help manage it before it escalates to cause irreversible damage. When you visit our eye clinic, our optometrist will conduct a physical exam of your entire eye before zeroing in on the retina. Your treatment plan will depend on the final diagnosis and our doctor’s conclusion. Treatment options include:
- Intraocular Injections (Anti-VEGF Injections)
- Diabetes Control
- Vitrectomy Surgery
- Scatter Laser Surgery (pan-retinal photocoagulation)
- Focal Laser Surgery
Contact Us at Kilgo EyeCare for Effective Diabetic Retinopathy Management
If you or a loved one is struggling with vision problems or diabetes, consult our experienced eye doctor before the situation worsens. Our optometrist at Kilgo EyeCare has extensive knowledge in the treatment and management of diabetic retinopathy and creates an individualized treatment plan for each patient, depending on the severity of the condition. Contact our eye doctor serving Asheville, Brevard, Weaverville, Fletcher, Hendersonville, and the surrounding areas by calling (828) 676-3260 to schedule an appointment.