Uncontrolled Diabetes Increases Risk of Certain Eye Complications

It’s no secret that diabetes opens the door to a host of serious health complications including those that affect the eye. At the offices of Retina Group of Washington, our team of highly-skilled eye specialists is well equipped to treat eye conditions associated with diabetes, helping to maintain the best possible vision for each of our patients.

In people with diabetes, too much blood sugar can damage the tiny blood vessels at the back inner wall of the eye (called the retina) or block them completely. This condition is diabetic retinopathy. Sometimes, tiny bulges protrude from the vessel walls, leaking or oozing fluid and blood into the retina. This fluid can cause swelling (edema) in the central part of the retina (macula). This is a serious eye complication called diabetic macular edema (DME) that can cause vision problems or blindness.

DME is the most common cause of vision loss in people with diabetic retinopathy. Poor blood sugar control and additional medical disorders, such as high blood pressure, increase the patient’s risk of blindness. DME can occur at any stage of diabetic retinopathy, although it is more likely to occur later as the disease progresses.

Traditional treatment for DME involves the use of a procedure called focal laser photocoagulation, which uses the heat from a laser to seal leaking blood vessels in the retina. More recent treatments involve drugs that are injected directly into the eye. These injections are usually given monthly for several months, as many injections are needed to control the leakage. Once the leakage is under control, continued monitoring is important.

Just how many injection treatments a particular patient will need will vary, but experience has shown that patients benefit most when they follow a consistent treatment regime, so starting treatment — and continuing with it — is very important to insure that your eyes and vision do as well as possible.

Committed to your vision health

At the office of Retina Group of Washington, we’re dedicated to providing the highest quality of skilled and compassionate eye care. For more information on our office and the many services we provide, give us a call today.