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Getting Help: Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment
If you have diabetes, you’re undoubtedly accustomed to keeping an eye on your health. For the sake of those eyes, ask your ophthalmologist to test you annually for diabetic retinopathy, if he or she isn’t already—it’s important to diagnose early, and your medical and eye doctor should coordinate treatment. Your doctor may even recommend diabetic retinopathy treatment before you notice any vision problems, which is the best and most effective time frame for treatment.
Wondering what diabetic retinopathy symptoms to watch for? At first, there are no symptoms, or only mild vision impairment—this stage is called nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy, and results from damage to the small blood vessels. A qualified ophthalmologist can detect symptoms at this stage by dilating your eyes and possibly injecting a special dye to view changes in the blood vessels. Blindness can result in the advanced stages, though, so you want to catch it early through testing.
Controlling your blood sugar and other diabetes complications may help in the treatment and prevention of diabetic retinopathy. For example, impaired kidney or heart function can make the condition worse, so be sure to seek treatment for other diabetes-related conditions.
One direct diabetic retinopathy treatment available through your eye doctor is a surgical procedure called vitrectomy, which prevents further vascular changes and preserves vision. Your doctor may alternatively recommend laser treatment, called laser photocoagulation, which creates tiny, painless retinal burns to seal off leaking vessels and reduce swelling.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.