Diabetes affects many different aspects of your health. In poorly managed or advanced cases of diabetes, it can eventually compromise vision. Diabetic retinopathy, the leading cause of blindness in adults in the U.S., occurs when blood vessels on the back of the eye swell and leak fluid. Symptoms can include blurred vision, but by the time you notice problems with your eyesight, irreparable damage may already have occurred. Retinal specialist Dr. Sean Lalin offers diabetic retinopathy treatment at our Morristown practice. If you have been diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy, and would like to learn more about protecting your vision, schedule a consultation with us today.
Being Proactive Is Your Best Defense
If you are diabetic, the most important step you can take to protect your vision is being proactive in your own care. You should undergo a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year. Once diabetic retinopathy is diagnosed, you may need to attend exams more often so your doctor can monitor the progress of the disease. By adequately managing the condition, our team can help you adopt conservative lifestyle changes that can reduce the chance that you will need more invasive treatment in the future.
To effectively manage diabetic retinopathy and guard against worsening vision, patients are encouraged to first adopt healthy lifestyle habits. We urge our diabetic patients to closely monitor blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure, while taking measures to keep them at healthy levels. During a consultation, we can discuss how your diet directly affects your diabetic retinopathy symptoms. We also recommend that you meet with a dietician or nutritionist specially trained in diabetes management.
Other Treatment Options
Unless diabetic retinopathy occurs alongside macular edema, no treatment is needed for the first three stages. However, once it progresses to proliferative retinopathy, Dr. Lain may recommend laser surgery. During a procedure called scatter laser treatment, a highly precise laser will be used to shrink abnormal blood vessels, preventing leakage. Two or more sessions are typically needed to treat all abnormal blood vessels. Dr. Lalin uses a state-of-the-art micro-pulse laser that minimizes trauma to surrounding healthy tissue for enhanced healing.
If your diabetic retinopathy has progressed to a stage of severe bleeding in the center of the eye, you may also need a vitrectomy. During this surgical procedure, the vitreous gel (soft gel inside the eye) is replaced to restore your eyesight. After a tiny incision is made in the eye, the affected vitreous gel will be removed and replaced with a saltwater solution or gas. Medicated eyedrops will be prescribed to guard against infection, and patients typically wear an eye patch for a short period after the surgery.
Schedule an Appointment with Dr. Lalin Today
Although diabetic retinopathy can never be fully cured, it can be effectively controlled. Take the first step towards protecting your eyesight by scheduling an appointment with a recognized expert in the field. Contact us today to set up an appointment with Dr. Lalin.