WHAT IS Diabetic Retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy is a disorder that harms the blood vessels within the retina. Affecting patients between the ages of 18 – 65 with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of vision impairment and blindness. Uncontrollable sugar levels can make the retinal blood vessels swell, leak, or become blocked, which can lead to permanent damage and in some cases, blindness. This serious disease may become worse over time and in the earlier stages, symptoms are not always detectable.
If you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, it’s extremely important to attend yearly eye exams so our team of skilled, board-certified ophthalmologists at Ophthalmology Associates of the Valley can check your ocular health and determine if you have diabetic retinopathy. If you have diabetes, especially if you find it difficult to control your sugar levels, we highly recommend scheduling an appointment at either of our locations in Encino or West Hills.
What is Diabetic Macular Edema?
Diabetic macular edema (DME) is a condition that is directly caused by diabetic retinopathy, which leads to swelling in that part of the retina known as the macula. The macula is essential for the central vision field and is used for reading, recognition, and driving.
"Dr Brad Elkins is the best ophthalmologist ever!!! The Dr is very comforting and compassionate and was very thorough. He is excellent at what he does and really takes care of his patients. I would recommend Dr. Elkins to any eye care needs Thank you Dr. Elkins for being a caring doctor. We need more Doctors like you"- T.G. / Yelp / Oct 08, 2021
"Thank you Dr. Elkins. You are so patient and calm and your personality is the best . You are a great doctor and the best choice. Thank you again Dr. Elkins. I wish there were more caring doctors around like you. You are the best!!!!"- T.G. / Yelp / Oct 08, 2021
"Ophthalmology Associates Of The Valley is the best. It's the first place I have ever been that made me feel like I had options. Dr. Lilia Babakhan is very kind and makes you actually want to see the letters clearer. Dr Zeegen and Dr Elkins are beyond amazing and really took the time and steered me in the right direction. Dr Elkins did the cataract surgery for me and it went better than expected. If I lived across the country, I would fly back to LA to have them take care of my eyes."- R.C. / Google / Sep 30, 2021
"All personnel made me feel quite confortable and relaxed."- L.S. / Demandforce / Sep 18, 2021
"He explained everything to me when I asked a lot of questions. Even sent me to a lab to rule out a problem when I brought it up and he called me at home that evening. Very caring I would say. Even though I'm disappointed in having to wait for cataract surgery, I trust him and the staff for their guidance."- M.P. / Demandforce / Sep 18, 2021
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS?
Generally, at first, patients do not exhibit any noticeable signs during the first part of the disease. However, as the condition worsens, you may start to experience uncomfortable symptoms. These symptoms are often compared to retinal tears or detachments. Some of the primary indications of diabetic retinopathy include:
- Immediate changes in vision
- Developing flashes or floaters
- Fuzzy or distorted vision
- Loss in the ability to identify colors
- Reduced vision acuity
CAUSES OF DIABETIC RETINOPATHY
Diabetic retinopathy happens in Type 1 and Type 2 men and women who have a medical history of severe spikes in their blood sugar levels. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, it’s extremely important to properly monitor and control your blood sugar levels and pursue professional medical care. When your sugar is too high, retinal blood vessels start to harden, expand, and create blockages, which can cause bleeding or leakage if not correctly managed. If left undiagnosed and untreated, diabetic retinopathy may produce macular edema (macular swelling) or macular ischemia (blood has difficulty reaching the macula).
Our ophthalmologists at Ophthalmology Associates of the Valley are excited to provide a variety of innovative treatments for diabetic retinopathy, which we can tailor based on the severity of your disease. If you have leaking veins, we have panretinal photocoagulation, which cauterizes the vessel with a specialized laser and prevents additional leakage and deterioration. For patients with a more severe case, we offer anti-VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor), which stops the growth of irregular blood vessels.
Early detection and the management of diabetes are essential to preventing harmful symptoms and restoring your eye health. However, if not treated, the negative side effects may become permanent, including vision loss. To reduce or stop the progression of diabetic retinopathy, it’s imperative to regulate your sugar and attend yearly eye exams.
TreatMENT IS POSSIBLE
Diabetic retinopathy is a disease that can severely impact patients who have been diagnosed with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. Maintaining your blood sugar and scheduling yearly exams are imperative to preventing permenant damage and vision loss caused by the condition. At Ophthalmology Associates of the Valley in San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, CA, we use innovative procedures, technologies, and techniques to help treat patients with diabetic retinopathy. Please contact one of our offices in Encino or West Hills to schedule your yearly eye exam and improve your ocular health.