Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic Retinopathy in Houston, TX

Diabetic retinopathy occurs in more than half of the people who develop diabetes and is the leading cause of new blindness among adults aged 20 to 74. Here at Mann Eye, serving Houston and the surrounding areas of Texas, our board-certified ophthalmologists treat diabetic retinopathy using decades of collective eye care expertise along with the latest cutting-edge ophthalmic technology.

What Is Diabetic Retinopathy?

diabetic_retinopathyDiabetic retinopathy is a common eye disease among individuals who suffer from diabetes. It occurs when there is damage to the blood vessels of the light-sensitive tissue found in the back of the eye, known as the retina. Of the 16 million people with diabetes in the United States, nearly half will develop some degree of diabetic eye disease such as diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness among Americans between the ages of 25 and 70. The condition typically develops without early warning signs. The damage to the eye can occur slowly and is hard to detect without regular and accurate monitoring.

Diabetic retinopathy is caused by damage to small blood vessels that leads to breaks or blockages. These blockages cut off blood supply to the retina. This can cause blood vessels to swell, leak fluid or close off completely. There are two types of diabetic retinopathy: early diabetic retinopathy and advanced diabetic retinopathy.

In early diabetic retinopathy, also called non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy, the weakened blood vessels become blocked and begin to swell and leak fluid and blood. In the more advanced stage of diabetic retinopathy (proliferative diabetic retinopathy), the number of damaged blood vessels is great enough to cause the growth of abnormal blood vessels that break, bleed and cause the development of scar tissue that may cause the retina to detach from the back of the eye.

Diabetic retinopathy usually affects both eyes and if left untreated, can cause blindness. Detecting this disease early can save your vision. Between 80 to 85 percent of individuals with diabetes will develop some level of retinopathy. Individuals with Type I diabetes are more likely to develop the condition than those with Type II diabetes. If patients with diabetic retinopathy are treated properly before the retina is severely damaged, they will have an excellent chance of stabilizing the disease and stopping its progress.

Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy

There are very few symptoms of diabetic retinopathy in the early stages of the disease. However, as the condition progresses you may experience the following:

  • Blurred vision
  • Seeing spots or floaters
  • Impaired night vision
  • Dark or empty spots in vision

Because of a lack of early symptoms, it is important that if you suffer from diabetes, you have a complete annual eye examination. The longer diabetic retinopathy goes undiagnosed, the higher the chances are that you will suffer from permanent vision impairment.

Treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy

Treatment depends on the extent of the disease. Often times, laser surgery is used to seal a blood vessel that is leaking. The laser shrinks abnormal vessels and prevents new ones from forming. Certain medication may also be injected into the eye to relieve inflammation or to stop new blood vessels from forming.

For more severe cases of diabetic retinopathy, vitrectomy surgery is used. Vitrectomy is a surgical procedure that removes vitreous gel, blood and scar tissue in the back of the eye. By removing the vitreous hemorrhage, light rays are able to focus on the retina again. And once the scar tissue is eliminated the retina can often be replaced in its normal location.

How Much Does Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy Cost?

Even if your insurance plan doesn’t cover vision correction, you can use cash, a credit card, or approved financing for payment. Please visit our financing page for more information.

If you are concerned about any diabetes-related eye problems, the experienced ophthalmologists at Mann Eye Institute will be happy to discuss potential solutions and develop an individual treatment plan for you. Contact us today.

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