Diabetic Retinopathy Services from Your Optometrist in Plano, TX
Vision loss among seniors is a major concern of our staff at Lone Star Vision in Plano. Our optometrist notes that one of every three individuals 65 or older has some type of eye disease that compromises vision. One of the most common culprits is diabetic retinopathy.
Overview of Diabetic Retinopathy
This disorder affects individuals with diabetes, many of whom are seniors. Diabetic retinopathy is a serious complication, one that can threaten a patient’s sight, according to our doctor of optometry. While any diabetic risks this complication, it most commonly occurs in individuals who have had diabetes for 30 or more years. It usually develops in both eyes.
An overabundance of sugar in a diabetic’s blood can eventually damage eyes. As time passes, diabetes causes damage to retinal blood vessels. The result is leakage of blood and other types of fluid that causes the retina to swell.
If untreated, the blurred or cloudy vision that follows can progress to blindness. The longer a patient lives with diabetes, the greater the chance retinopathy will develop.
The most common diabetic retinopathy symptoms include:
- Floaters or spots in the visual field
- Blurry vision
- A dark or blank spot in the center of the visual field
- Trouble with nighttime vision
Optometrists classify this complication as one of two kinds:
Non-proliferative (NPDR) occurs during the early stages and usually includes mild symptoms, or none at all. Vessels in the retina at this point have been weakened and might have started to leak.
Proliferative (PDR) is the more advanced stage. Oxygen deprivation in the retina, causing new vessels to form and leak blood, clouds vision. This stage also carries a risk of retinal detachment and glaucoma.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Doctors of optometry diagnose this diabetic complication during a comprehensive eye examination that includes:
- Evaluation of a patient’s medical history
- Measurements of visual acuity
- Refraction to determine if a prescription is necessary
- Assessment of the retina and other eye structures when eyes are dilated
- Measurement of eye pressure
Making a diagnosis might require additional specialized tests such as retinal photography or tomography or fluorescein angiography.
The stage of the disorder determines the appropriate treatment. Monitoring might be sufficient for very early NPDR when combined with following lifestyle advice designed to control blood sugar levels.
Laser treatment called photocoagulation can halt leakage from blood vessels in more advanced stages. Laser burns scattered across the retina surface treat the widespread retinal vessel growth found in PDR.
Schedule an Appointment with Our Plano Optometrist
If you are over 50, make sure to schedule a senior eye exam at least once a year. Our optometrist, Dr. Todd Brantley, will check the health of your eyes and determine if you need any changes to a vision correction prescription.