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For patients with diabetes, one potential problem is diabetic retinopathy, a progressive complication that threatens sight. A regular comprehensive examination by our optometrist is the key to getting early treatment. Early diagnosis of this condition in patients who visit The Eye Center in South Tulsa and Okmulgee can help preserve sight. We are also proud to serve families from the Bixby area.
Diabetic retinopathy progressively causes damage to the retina, the lining at the back of the eyes. In diabetics, small retinal blood vessels sometimes leak blood and other types of fluid. As a result, tissue swells and affects vision. The disorder typically occurs in both eyes. Our eye doctor notes that without treatment, it could lead to blindness.
While any patient with diabetes could develop this vision problem, the risk rises as the result of:
Doctors of optometry recognize two types of this condition. The early type is the more common. Patients have developed problems with existing blood vessels, but new ones are not growing. In the advanced form of the disease, damaged vessels shut off. This causes the proliferation of new, abnormal ones that can leak fluid. The resulting pressure sometimes results in glaucoma and vision loss.
In the early stages, patients might notice no symptoms. This is why vision professionals recommend annual dilated vision exams for diabetics. As the condition progresses, one or more of these signs could develop:
The most serious potential complications include a vitreous hemorrhage, detachment of the retina, glaucoma, and blindness.
How vision professionals treat diabetic retinopathy links to the extent of the patient’s disease. The objective of our doctor is always to either stop or at least slow disease progression. In the beginning stages of the early, non-proliferative type, regular examination and monitoring by our practice could be sufficient. Our optometry practice performs periodic refractions to find out if a corrective vision prescription is necessary. While the patient’s eyes are dilated, our doctor assesses the retinas and other structures and measures pressure.
For advanced cases in which vessels leak blood and other fluid, a laser treatment known as photocoagulation can halt leakage. The laser targets portions of the retina with problem vessels and seals each leak. When blood vessel growth is widespread, a pattern of laser bursts scattered over the retina forces the vessels to shrink, and then disappear. To preserve central vision, some of the peripheral visual fields might be lost.
Patients with diabetes can take important self-care steps that help prevent or slow progression of this disorder:
Regular vision exams by our optometrist can help preserve your sight. Be sure to call us at The Eye Center today at 918-369-3937 to schedule an appointment in South Tulsa or at 918-756-0316 to schedule one at our Okmulgee office. Our optometrists, Dr. James A. Ward and Dr. David K. Hall, provide a full range of optometric services for families in the Okmulgee, Bixby, and South Tulsa areas. Our friendly and professional staff excels at providing patient-focused vision care.
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