Diabetic retinopathy can include any disorder of the retina caused by diabetes and is the leading cause of vision loss for Americans under 65. If you have diabetes, visiting your eye doctor regularly becomes increasingly important. The San Diego diabetic retinopathy specialists at our office can assess your specific needs and help you determine if any damage has occurred, if it needs treatment and how often you should be seen and will communicate the findings with your primary medical doctor. The possible complications of diabetic retinopathy, including macular edema, glaucoma and cataracts, will also be discussed with you.

To schedule an appointment with one of our experienced ophthalmologists, please contact California Retina Associates today. Appointments can also be made by calling our offices serving San Diego at (619) 425-7755.

Complications of Diabetic Retinopathy

There are two major types of diabetic retinopathy.

In the early stage of the disease, called non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy, the blood vessels in the back of the eye are weakened. The capillaries can form pouches that leak and can block blood vessels. The most common complication from non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy is diabetic macular edema, which is a swelling of the macula, or the center part of the retina that is responsible for sharp, straight-ahead vision. This can compromise the eye’s ability to read and recognize faces and color.

In the more advanced form of diabetic retinopathy, known as proliferative diabetic retinopathy, new and abnormal blood vessels form in the retina. Scar tissue can also form on the surface of the retina, and possibly pull on the retina, leading to retinal detachment, which can cause floating spots in your vision, flashes of light and severe loss of vision. Another complication that can be caused by proliferative retinopathy is vitreous hemorrhage, in which blood leaks into the areas in and around the vitreous humor, filling the eye cavity and temporarily blocking vision.

In addition to these complications, patients suffering from diabetic retinopathy are more likely to develop other eye diseases like glaucoma. The risk for glaucoma increases by 40 percent in people with diabetes; the risk continues to rise with age. What happens in cases of proliferative diabetic retinopathy is that new blood vessels grow in the eye, interfering with the normal outflow of fluid from the eye. The pressure inside the eye increases and can eventually damage the optic nerve.

People with diabetes are also more 60 percent more likely to develop cataracts than people without diabetes. Although cataracts are a common age-related vision disorder, it is very common for diabetics to experience lens clouding much earlier in life than those without the disease

Diabetic retinopathy treatment is often successful the earlier the treatment is instituted and can prevent further complications. A combination of laser, medicine and surgery may be needed. What is best for your needs can be determined during your treatment evaluation at California Retina Associates.

Learn More about the Complications of Diabetic Retinopathy

To schedule an appointment with one of our San Diego retina specialists, please contact us today. We maintain several state-of-the-art offices to better serve people living throughout the San Diego area and beyond.