Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is an ocular manifestation of diabetes, a systemic disease, which affects up to 80 percent of all patients who have had diabetes for 10 years or more. The longer a person has diabetes, the higher his or her chances are of developing diabetic retinopathy.

Despite these intimidating statistics, research indicates that at least 90 percent of new cases could be reduced. Education on diabetic eye disease and retinopathy is especially important because it is often preventable or treatable. Unfortunately, this means it can go unnoticed in the early stages. As the disease progresses, permanent vision loss is a real possibility if the patient does not receive treatment.

There are multiple forms of diabetic retinopathy, and only your doctor can determine your particular form. With one form, blood vessels may swell and leak fluid. In another, abnormal new blood vessels grow on the surface of the retina.

Stages of Diabetic Retinopathy

In the early stages of diabetic retinopathy, many do not notice a change to their vision because there are little to no symptoms. If an eye doctor does not catch diabetic retinopathy early, one could sustain mild blurriness at near or far distances, as well as floaters. In severe cases, a sudden loss of vision may occur.

Unfortunately, diabetic retinopathy can result in permanent damage that cannot be reversed.  However, if caught in time, prescribed treatments may slow development and prevent vision loss.

Concerned about the onset of diabetic retinopathy? Please call us at 808-877-7828 to schedule a preventative eye examination today with Dr. Nguyen.

Learn more about this type of diabetic eye disease by watching our video.

What is a Diabetic eye exam? How does diabetes affect your eyes?? Patients with diabetes can develop damage in the back of their eyes, specifically in their retinas. Blood vessels in diabetics become weak, fragile, and leaky due to high blood sugar. In the retina and the kidneys, blood vessels are tiny and the most prone to diabetic damage, leading to swelling and bleeding in the back of the eye. Over time the body senses the continued loss to the back of the eye, and your eye attempts to fix the situation by growing new blood vessels. However, these new vessels are NOT strong and will also leak or rupture and can impact your vision and may require injections as treatment. At a diabetic eye exam, Dr. Nguyen or Dr. Kawa will dilate your eyes (yes, those blurry vision drops) to make sure they don’t see any or early signs for damage to the vessels in the back of your eye. Diabetic eye exams should be performed once a year.