Patients with diabetes should schedule regular eye exams to monitor possible changes to their vision. Drs. Paul S. Gulbas and Mark J. Gallardo provide both screening and diabetic retinopathy treatment at our El Paso, TX, practice. We provide comprehensive eye care and laser surgery, and can also discuss simple lifestyle changes that may slow the progression of the disease.
Blood sugar, or glucoses levels, must be closely monitored to avoid various health complications. When blood glucose remains high for extended periods, small blood vessels in the eyes may start to become blocked. In its earliest stages, the condition is called non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR), which often has no noticeable symptoms.
Diabetic retinopathy is characterized by the abnormal growth of weakened blood vessels.
Because many patients with early onset retinopathy will not notice symptoms, it is important to schedule a yearly eye exam. When symptoms of the condition are present, they may include:
In an advanced condition, new, substitute blood vessels begin to form. These weakened vessels are prone to leakage, sending blood and fluid into the retina. The retina, or back lining of the eye, plays an important role in converting light to images so the patient's vision may begin to blur. If the condition worsens, scar tissue can build up and lead to retinal detachment or glaucoma. For some patients, blindness may eventually occur.
Our doctors have years of experience treating diabetic retinopathy and other serious eye conditions. Although we cannot restore lost vision, we can often halt the progress of the condition to preserve the clarity of your present vision.
Diabetic retinopathy can be diagnosed with a simple eye exam. With your pupils dilated, the doctor will be able to detect any changes in your ocular blood vessels, bleeding, or retinal abnormalities. You will also be tested for glaucoma and given a complete visual assessment.
Many patients with early onset diabetic retinopathy will not notice any symptoms. For this reason, it is important to schedule a yearly eye exam.
If you have very early stage diabetic retinopathy, the doctor may simply suggest we closely watch the condition. Additionally, closely monitoring your blood sugar can help prevent progression of the disease. If diabetic retinopathy begins to affect your quality of life, we offer effective treatment options.
Injectable drugs can be used to prevent the excessive growth of blood vessels in the eye. The medication is injected directly into the corner of the numbed eye. For advanced cases, steroid injections can also be used.
Laser photocoagulation is used to seal off blood vessels, halting or slowing leakage of blood and fluid in the eye. This painless treatment is completed in a single, outpatient session. For more advanced cases, our doctors may perform eye surgery called a vitrectomy. Using a tiny incision, the doctor can remove blood from the center (vitreous) of the eye and eliminate scar tissue. A laser may also be used to repair tears or holes in the retina.
Diabetic retinopathy responds best to early intervention. To schedule an exam, please contact us online or call (915) 542-0279 today.
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