Diabetic Eye Disease
Diabetes involves persistently elevated blood sugar levels which over time can lead to damage to blood vessel walls. With this damage the blood vessel walls may begin to leak either blood or clear fluid (serum) in the retina leading to diabetic macular edema (DME).
If significant amounts of fluid are leaked in the retina near one’s central vision, treatment is required in the form of intravitreal injections. This involves injection of medication directly into the back chamber of the eye so the medication can reach the retina and stabilize the blood vessel walls and stop the leakage and hopefully, preserve and improve vision. This procedure is performed in the office under topical anesthesia and is well tolerated. Close follow-up is required to determine if treatment has been successful and to watch for recurrence of swelling in the retina. Both Dr. Peters and Dr. Maw perform intravitreal injections.
In some individuals, the blood vessels may progressively close and fail to provide blood and oxygen to the retina. This lack of blood flow and oxygen can lead to damage of the receptors in the retina and cause direct visual loss. It may also lead to the production of vascular “growth factors” in the back of the eye to encourage new blood vessel growth. Unfortunately, these new blood vessels are abnormal and bleed into the back chamber of the eye (proliferative diabetic retinopathy or PDR), inducing sudden vision loss from a vitreous hemorrhage, and potentially a retinal detachment. Depending upon individual circumstances, intravitreal injections, vitrectomy surgery or various types of vitreoretinal surgery may then be necessary to treat this process. Both Dr. Peters and Dr. Maw perform laser treatments for diabetic retinopathy. If more extensive treatment is required, referral to a vitreoretinal specialist will be arranged.
Proliferative diabetic retinopathy with abnormal new blood vessels at the optic disc, and abnormal new peripheral retinal blood vessels
Fundus photo and fluorescein angiography showing diabetic macular edema with areas of exudates and fluorescein leakage
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