What is Diabetic Retinopathy?
Diabetic Retinopathy is a condition caused by diabetes where high blood sugar levels can damage the blood vessels throughout the body, including the fine vessels of the retina. There are two types; Nonproliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (NPDR) and Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (PDR).
Types of Diabetic Retinopathy
Nonproliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (NPDR):
Nonproliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (NPDR) is an early stage, a milder form of eye disease which usually does not affect vision. This condition occurs when the retinal blood vessels begin to leak allowing blood to seep into the retina. This can cause the retina to swell and function improperly. Treatment is available through the use of a laser to seal the blood vessels and prevent further vision loss.
Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR):
Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (PDR), on the other hand, represents more advanced disease and can cause severe loss of central and peripheral vision. This condition occurs when the retinal blood vessels close restricting the nutrients to the retinal tissue. This growth of new abnormal blood vessels can create scar tissue which can result in blindness if not treated.
Strict control of blood-sugar levels can prevent or delay the onset of vision problems. Those who develop vision-threatening complications such as macular edema (swelling), PDR and neovascular glaucoma can be treated with laser surgery. Some patients may need multiple laser treatments over time.
In advanced PDR, our retinal specialists may recommend a vitrectomy. Vitrectomy is the removal of abnormal gel in the back part of the eye to control abnormal blood vessels. The earlier this surgery is performed, the better the chances of saving your vision or preventing more serious vision loss.