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What is proliferative retinopathy?
The retina is a film at the back of the eye. The tiny blood vessels in that area are very delicate and can bleed easily. Proliferative retinopathy is a condition where the small blood vessels grow from the surface of the retina. There is often no real symptom or warning that a patient has proliferative retinopathy. A yearly examination by an eye specialist can assist in letting you know if you have the disorder.
Diabetics often suffer from diabetic proliferative retinopathy. This is caused by a lifetime of high sugar in the body. New vessel growth in diabetic patients occurs only in the eye and not in any other location of the body. When the retina becomes damaged it releases a growth hormone called VEGF (Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor) This encourages the growth of other capillaries; a sort of exaggerated body reaction to the circumstance. The retina is starved of nutrients and addition VEGF is manufactured to offset the situation. There are new drugs being tested that attempt to block the production of VEGF.
There are laser treatments that can be employed that will assist in allowing more oxygen and nutrients to the retinal area. Improved retinal circulation ceases the production of the VEGF hormone. This requires several laser sessions to show improvement. New vessels close up but the production can start up again within a four to eight month time period. Each laser session employs approximately one thousand laser shots.
The worst type of proliferative retinopathy is referred to as ‘severe’. This requires many laser sessions of higher quantity of laser shots. The results can allow the individual to have somewhat of a normal viewing life with the exception of poor side and night vision. There is a chance that the blood vessels may continue to grow, causing hemorrhages. People that have suffered this type of bleeding compare it to looking through a vision of spider webs. They also reported initial or beginning bleeding symptoms as appearing as spots of blood or red floaters.
Without laser treatment, a patient will continue to lose ten percent of their site each year.
Diagnosis and the control of the diabetes condition are of utmost importance. Some patients have followed all of the control guidelines and still suffer from proliferative retinopathy. It is thought that there may be a genetic control for those specific patients that will not allow the controls to be effective.
If there is a large amount of blood in the eye center, a procedure called s vitrectomy is performed. The physician must accomplish a small incision in the eye and remove the vitreous gel that contains the blood. It is then replaced with a saline solution. Since the vitreous is made up of mostly water, there will not be any noticeable site differences. If both eyes are affected, this procedure is done on each eye with an approximate two week time separation.
A rule of thumb measurement for successful treatment of proliferative retinopathy has been the three year rule. If there has been no new growth and no additional laser treatments have been required, the patient may have the disorder under a stasis control. Consistent examinations will be required for the life of the patient, as the disorder could return at any time.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.
|Retinopathy31 May 2010|