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Diabetic retinopathy it is the leading cause of blindness in working-age Americans.
This has been worsened by the epidemic of obesity in America given rise to diabetes in record numbers. Diabetes is a major cause of healthcare costs in the USA. Diabetes can cause a number of other eye diseases including glaucoma and cataracts. The most common disease it causes is diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy occurs when the retina which lines the back of eye becomes damaged.
Source: America Academy of ophthalmology
At first someone may notice distortion in their vision in the affected eye. Later they experience further loss of their central vison. As the disease progresses, new blood vessels can grow on the retina (this is called proliferative retinopathy) and these blood vessels can bleed causing a new onset of floaters or even total loss of vision.
The damage to the retina in diabetic retinopathy is caused by elevated blood sugar which damages the retinas blood vessels overtime. You will not have symptoms from this early on.
Diabetes causes the retina blood vessels to leak, bleed or even stop blood flow to parts of the retina. If not detected early enough, this can cause devastating and irreversible vision loss. This is why yearly exams are so important. Diabetic retinopathy (DR) affects both type 1 and type 2 diabetics. It is worsened being overweight, inactive, smoking, high blood pressure or elevated cholesterol.
The most important time to have the diabetic changes in your eye evaluated is BEFORE you notice any change in your vison. It is extremely important you have your eyes evaluated EVERY YEAR if you have diabetes’s because early intervention will ensure you maintain good vision.
At InVision we use extraordinary technologies to supplement our examination of your eyes for diabetic changes. This includes special tests called the OCT as well as another extraordinary technology that allows visualizing of the back your eye called an Optos. We were the first ophthalmology practice in Monmouth and Ocean county to acquire this vision saving technology.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is an exciting new FDA approved technology which will allow highly accurate early detection of diabetic retinopathy by a special camera and computer by non-eyecare healthcare providers. At InVision, working to place these devices in local doctors’ offices in order to more quickly identify at risk patients before the development of vision loss.
We share the progress of our evaluations and treatments with your primary care doctors and endocrinologists instantly from our sophisticated electronic medical records. This allows them to better care for your diabetes.
The treatment of diabetic retinopathy depends on how far advanced the disease has become. It is best delivered by retinal specialists like Dr. Gloth in our office.
There are two main types of diabetic retinopathy:
1. Early background diabetic retinopathy should be treated once significant, before you experience symptoms, to best maintain your vision. Treatments include the use of in-office laser or painless anti-vegf injections.
2. If the diabetic retinopathy is allowed to worsen it becomes something called proliferative diabetic retinopathy. More aggressive treatments may be needed to prevent you from losing your vision. Sometimes this may even require a surgery called a vitrectomy. We make tremendous efforts to prevent all our patients from ever getting this far along in the disease.
With proper follow-up care and timely treatments, we are able to lessen the likelihood of blindness by significantly over 90%!
It should be stressed that in addition to the treatments we do in office, your compliance with your doctor’s treatment regimen will help us protect your vison. You have the power to -help your doctors -help you. Maintaining good control of your blood sugar, avoid smoking, avoid being overweight, being physically active, controlling your blood pressure, and eating healthy is a great way you can help your eyes.
Dr. Gloth is a gifted retinal specialist who is fellowship in retinal disease. He has vast expertise in the treatment of diabetic retinopathy for over 10 years. We are fortunate to have in our multispecialty practice.