Treatment for Flashes and Floaters
Diabetic Eye Disease compromises a group of eye conditions that affect people who have diabetes. These conditions include diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, cataract, and glaucoma.
Diabetic retinopathy is a condition where the retina is starved of oxygen. The disease is known to lead to Diabetic Macular Edema -- a condition that causes the macula to swell. People with diabetes are more likely to develop cataracts and glaucoma-- categorizing the conditions as a diabetic eye disease. Diabetic eye diseases are the leading cause of blindness in the US. Early detection of diabetic eye disease can protect against vision loss. Treatment options depend on the severity of the conditions.
Diabetic RetinopathyDiabetic Retinopathy occurs when tiny blood vessels begin to leak blood and other fluids into the retina, causing the retina to become starved of oxygen. It is known as the most common cause of vision loss among diabetic patients and one of the leading causes of blindness in the US. The condition normally affects both eyes.
SymptomsIn the early state of this disease, there are no visual symptoms. Because of this, American Optometric Associations recommends people with diabetes have a comprehensive eye examination once a year.
When detected early, the potential of the disease leading to significant vision loss is limited. Advanced symptoms of diabetic retinopathy include floaters, blurred vision, dark or empty spots in the center of your vision and/or difficulty seeing at night.
Diabetic Macular EdemaDiabetic Macular Edema— a consequence of diabetic retinopathy— is the swelling or thickening of the macula. The macula is a small area in the center of the retina that allows us to see fine details clearly. Vision loss may be mild to severe but even in the worst case, peripheral vision continues to function.
SymptomsDuring the early development of diabetic macular edema, patients may display very few symptoms. The main symptoms are blurred central vision, floaters or double vision. Colors may also appear to be washed out. A blood vessel leak that is visible in the eye can also be an indicator of diabetic macular edema. The disease can also effect only one eye, in which case the symptoms are rarely shown until it is well-advanced.
TreatmentDiabetic retinopathy not have a cure. However, there are treatments that can improve vision if the retina has not been severely damaged such as laser treatments, a vitrectomy or an injection. If you have mild or moderate diabetic retinopathy, treatment may not be necessary. Controlling your blood sugar levels may be enough treatment to slow the progression of the disease.
InjectionsDiabetic Macular Edema is commonly treated with injections. Injections are a common treatment for Diabetic Macular Edema. Anti-VEGF Injection therapy involves an injection into the vitreous gel to block the protein responsible for the growth of the abnormal blood vessels— vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). By blocking this protein, abnormal blood vessels can be reversed and the fluid in the retina will decrease.
Avastin, Lucentis and Eylea are common anti-VEGF drugs that can be used to treat diabetic macular edema. Each of the anti-VEGF drugs vary in how often they must be injected. Most patients require the treatment monthly for the first 6 months. Normally after the first six months, treatments are necessary less often.
VitrectomyAs the most common eye repair, vitrectomy surgery is performed in an operating room. Our ophthalmologist removes the vitreous gel from the eye using a technique similar to suctioning. After removal, it is common to treat the retina with a laser in order to cut or remove scar tissue, repair any holes/tears in the retina or flatten any detached areas.
Laser TreatmentFor advanced cases of diabetic eye diseases, laser treatments are an option. Laser treatments are used to reduce the progression of diabetic eye diseases. There are two types of laser treatments:
- Photocoagulation (Focal Laser Treatment)
During this procedure, laser burns are applied to the abnormal blood vessels. The laser burns seals/slows the leakage of the blood and fluid in the eye.
- Panretinal Photocoagulation (Scatter Laser Treatment)
During this procedure, scattered laser burns are applied to the abnormal blood vessels. Differing from the photocoagulation treatment, the scattered laser burns cause the blood vessels to shrink and scar.
PreventionIrregular blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels are what cause the constant strain on the blood vessels, which leads to diabetic eye diseases. You can reduce the risk of developing these eye conditions by keeping these levels under control—along with regular eye examinations.
A comprehensive eye exam is normally made up of short, routine examinations such as visual acuity test (for sharpness), color blindness test, a cover test, eye movement tests. The eye exam usually takes around an hour, sometimes longer depending on the complexity of tests that are required to fully evaluate all of your visual abilities. Studies show that early detection and treatment can reduce the risk of blindness by 95 percent.
For information and consultation regarding treatment for diabetic eye diseases, contact our main office at (405) 607-6699.
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