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Diabetic Retinopathy

Retina Associates of New York

Retina Specialists & Retina Surgeons located in New York, Forest Hills & New Rochelle, NY

Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that damages the tiny blood vessels providing nourishment to your retina. It’s the leading cause of vision loss in people with diabetes. The board-certified retinal specialists at Retina Associates of New York are experts at treating diabetic retinopathy. This group of dedicated physicians serves the NYC community from three locations: Upper East Side, Manhattan; Forest Hills, Queens; and New Rochelle. Each facility offers personalized care and advanced treatment for diabetic retinopathy. Schedule an appointment today by calling one of the offices or booking your visit online.

Diabetic Retinopathy Q & A

What causes diabetic retinopathy?

Over time, high blood sugar levels weaken the walls of the blood vessels that nourish your retina. This causes the vessels to leak fluid and blood, which causes swelling of the surrounding tissue. As retinopathy progresses and more vessels are damaged, your body attempts to restore healthy blood flow by building new vessels. Unfortunately, this only exacerbates the problem since the new vessels are abnormally fragile. They can bleed easily and eventually form scar tissue that can detach the retina.

How does diabetic retinopathy cause vision loss?

New blood vessel formation can cause scar tissue formation, which may result in retinal detachment. These blood vessels may also interfere with the normal flow of fluid out of your eye. This can raise the pressure in your eyeball, causing glaucoma and damage to the optic nerve that carries images from your eye to your brain.

If the abnormal blood vessels associated with retinopathy bleed into the clear, gel-like vitreous fluid that fills the center of your eye, a vitreous hemorrhage can occur. This might cause a few dark spots in your vision. More severe bleeding, however, can fill the vitreous cavity with blood and completely block your vision. A vitreous hemorrhage typically causes temporary vision loss that clears over several weeks to months.

Macular edema is swelling caused by fluid buildup in the macula at the center of your retina, and it can lead to blurred and distorted vision.

How do you treat diabetic retinopathy?

Careful management of your diabetes that keeps your blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible is an important step in treating diabetic retinopathy.

Routine diabetic eye exams that include a detailed evaluation of your retina are also imperative. Your retinal specialist can spot changes associated with retinopathy long before you notice changes in your vision, when treatment is often the easiest and most successful.

If the changes are mild, your doctor may recommend careful monitoring via dilated eye exams and tighter control of your diabetes.

Otherwise, treatment for advanced diabetic retinopathy may include:

  • Photocoagulation, focal laser therapy that seals leaking blood vessels
  • Panretinal photocoagulation, “scatter” laser therapy designed to shrink abnormal blood vessels
  • Eye injections with medications designed to reduce leakage blood vessels and stop the growth of new blood vessels by blocking vascular endothelial growth factors (anti-VEGF therapy)
  • Injection of corticosteroids to alleviate swelling in the retina

Call Retina Associates of New York today to schedule a dilated diabetic eye exam, or book your visit online.