Diabetic retinopathy is a common complication of diabetes and a leading cause of vision loss in adults. To discuss treatment options in Schuylkill County, get in touch with Eye Consultants of Pennsylvania today. Our board-certified, fellowship-trained ophthalmologists have an excellent track record of success.
Eye Consultants of Pennsylvania is the leading ophthalmology practice in Schuylkill County, Berks County, Lebanon County and Eastern Pennsylvania, providing a comprehensive range of services to patients of all ages. Our vitreo-retinal specialists have extensive experience in the most up-to-date treatments of retinal disorders, including diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, retinal detachment, macular edema, and other complex retinal conditions.
- Barry C. Malloy, MD is board certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology and completed vitreo-retinal fellowship training at the Washington Hospital Center after earning his medical degree the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
- Michael Cusick, MD is board certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology and completed medical and surgical vitreo-retinal fellowship training at the Duke Eye Center after earning his medical degree at Georgetown University.
What Causes Diabetic Retinopathy?
Diabetes and high blood sugar can affect the blood vessels in the retina, causing them to thicken and develop tiny leaks that seep into the retina and macula. Fluid can accumulate and cause swelling (edema) which causes vision to become blurry.
According to the National Eye Institute, diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in Americans between 20 and 74 years of age. However, early detection, timely treatment, and appropriate follow-up care can significantly reduce your risk of severe vision loss.
How is Diabetic Retinopathy Treated?
There is no cure for diabetic retinopathy, but there are effective treatments, such as laser treatments and vitrectomy surgery, that can slow the progression of vision loss. Treatments vary based on the nature and progression of the retinopathy.
Nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR) –NPDR is the first stage of diabetic retinopathy. Damaged blood vessels in the retina begin to leak fluid and small amounts of blood into the eye. This can cause diabetic macular edema (swelling of the macula; also called DME) or macular ischemia (closing of small blood vessels).
During this stage of diabetic retinopathy, laser treatment may be administered to slow the leakage of fluid and prevent further vision loss, but treatment may not be necessary in the absence of DME or macular ischemia. It is extremely important, however, to have your condition monitored on a regular basis by a skilled retina specialist.
Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) –PDR is the more advanced and severe stage of diabetic retinopathy. It occurs when abnormal new blood vessels grow along the inside surface of the retina and into the vitreous gel. These new blood vessels are fragile and more likely to leak and bleed. They may cause severe bleeding, glaucoma, and retinal detachment, and lead to permanent vision loss.
Ophthalmologists often recommend laser treatment to seal off leaking blood vessels and discourage further blood vessel growth. The earlier the laser treatment is started, the more successful it can be. Although it does not cure diabetic retinopathy, it can help save your remaining vision.
Vision that is lost to diabetic retinopathy is sometimes irreversible. If you are diabetic, the best way to preserve your vision is to control your blood-sugar levels, which reduces the chance of retinopathy and slows down its rate of advancement.
Schedule an appointment today with Eye Consultants of Pennsylvania to discuss diabetic retinopathy treatment options in Schuylkill County. We have four convenient locations in Pottsville, Wyomissing, Pottstown and Blandon.