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Diabetic Retinopathy
Friday, 03 April 2009 01:14


What is Diabetic Retinopathy? What is the treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy?


Diabetic retinopathy involves many parts of the retina. It is caused by diabetes, mainly uncontrolled diabetes however, controlled diabetes can also cause retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is divided into two sections: Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy and Non Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy.


Non Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (NPDR)


NPDR is the initial stages of diabetic changes in the eye. This involves retinal hemorrhages, micro-aneurism, cotton wool spots, exudations, and macular edema. There are different stages: mild, moderate, severe, or very severe. Your doctor will discuss your stage.


If one is diagnosed with NPDR they still have time to start improving their diabetic control. If one does not improve their diabetic control this can advance to proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) which is much more severe and can lead to blindness.


Treatment depends on the NPDR stage and if one has macular edema (clinically significant macular edema.)


Proliferative Diabetic Retinopahty (PDR)

Proliferative diabetic retinopathy is one of the leading causes of blindness in United States. This is expected to grow because of the increase of obesity.


PDR is the more advance stages of diabetic retinopathy. PDR specifically means that there are new blood vessels growing in the retina (neovascularization.) These new blood vessels leak fluids, can break causing one’s eye to fill with blood, and /or cause scaring which can lead to contraction and a retinal detachment. These are all very serious conditions and often lead to blindness. The treatment for PDR is extensive retinal laser surgery (panretinal photocoagulation.)


HbA1C (Hemoglobin A1C) is very important in determining the progression of diabetic retinopathy. It has been show that an HbA1C below 7 is beneficial in preventing and reducing diabetic retinopathy.


The most important preventative factor of diabetic retinopathy is controlling one’s diabetes. This is done by dieting, medications and exercise. The doctor will discuss one’s goals in for the treatment.


Yearly eye examinations are very important for ALL diabetic patients. If one’s diabetes is not controlled or if there are retinal changes an eye doctor will often examine one’s eyes more frequently, every 4-8 months.



Controlling one’s diabetes (most important factor)

Medications, Diet, Exercise

Laser surgery for macular edema

Laser retinal surgery (panretinal photocoagulation)

Vitrectomy and retinal detachment repair surgery


Last Updated on Monday, 14 January 2013 00:06

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