Our Spring Valley eye doctor, Glenn Roter, OD, takes the time to explain to our patients that diabetes increases your risk of glaucoma and cataracts, but can also cause the eye disease known as diabetic retinopathy. As the most common diabetic eye disease, and a leading cause of blindness in adults, diabetic retinopathy is caused by changes in the blood vessels of your retina that may swell and leak fluid. Our diabetic eye exam is especially important because if you do have diabetic retinopathy, you may not initially notice any changes to your vision, but in time it can worsen and cause vision loss.
During our comprehensive exam, which is the only reliable means of detecting diabetic retinopathy, your pupil is dilated, a device called an ophthalmoscope is used to view your retina, and the extent of the retinopathy will be determined. The best therapy is prevention and studies show that strict control of blood sugar levels can greatly lower the risk of vision loss from this disease. Sometimes the first treatment recommended by our Spring Valley eye doctor is laser surgery, or laser “photocoagulation.” This treatment uses heat from a laser to seal or destroy abnormal, leaking blood vessels in your retina and reabsorb the excess fluid. The main goal of this treatment, of course, is to prevent further vision loss.
To explain another surgical treatment for diabetic retinopathy, vitrectomy, is the removal of the vitreous gel. Vitrectomy does not cure the disease, but it can improve vision in some patients who have developed bleeding into the vitreous gel. Earlier detection of retinopathy, through dilated eye exams, can help you decide to have surgery when it is most effective. Dr. Roter will explain the best treatment options for you so you know what to expect as you proceed
If you have diabetes, we can’t stress enough how important regularly scheduled diabetic eye exams are, especially to prevent loss of vision. Not only are they necessary to detect any threatening problems, but to help treat them as well. Research shows that in the United States, diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in people under the age of 65. Our Spring Valley eye doctor is here to diagnose, treat, prevent and educate you, so you not only know what your best treatment options are but understand them. We are aware that the general doctor who treats your diabetes also checks your eyes, but you should still get an eye exam every 1-2 years by an eye doctor who specializes in people with diabetes.