Treatment Baton Rouge LA
Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment in Baton Rouge, LA
For every ten people in Baton Rouge, one is estimated to suffer from diabetes. Diabetes is a health condition in which blood sugar levels are elevated; this often results in damaged blood vessels and reduced blood flow especially in the small vessels of the eye. Diabetes is a severe condition that can even lead to blindness. The good news is there are treatments available today that can help protect and even reverse vision loss resulting from diabetes. The sooner you are evaluated and diagnose diabetic retinopathy, the better your chances of preventing vision loss.
Diabetes and Your Eyes
Diabetes causes blood vessel damage. Fine blood vessels in the eye are especially vulnerable to injury from lack of oxygen. The vessels in the eye are the key to metabolizing nutrients in the retina, which creates vision. The small blood vessels in the retina can become less water-tight, and the fluids inside the blood vessels may leak out, accumulating in the retina. This swelling and distortion of the retinal layers is called macular edema or Diabetic Macular Edema (DME). Diabetic Macular Edema and is the no.1 cause of diabetic vision loss.
When diabetes is uncontrolled, the eye’s blood vessels don’t provide enough oxygen to the eye. Over time as the retina does not receive oxygen, the body will attempt to repair itself by growing new blood vessels. VEGF or vascular endothelial growth factor is one of the primary signals responsible for new blood vessel growth.
When VEGF levels rise, the retina will try to form many new blood vessels; this is called neovascularization. If you have neovascularization in your retina, the situation has become severe. These new blood vessels are abnormal and grow where they are not supposed to like weeds growing through cracks on the concrete. They create an increased risk for retinal detachments and glaucoma.
Symptoms of Diabetes in your Eyes
- Blurry vision in one or both eyes (most common)
- Sudden floaters
- Eye pressure and pain may occur (less common)
It’s essential to get tested even if you have no symptoms, as most people will only notice problems in the later stages of the disease. If left untreated, a person with diabetic retinopathy may suffer permanent vision loss.
If I’m Diabetic, When Should I Get An Eye Exam?
We recommend annual eye exams for adult diabetics. These tests will determine whether you have any of the telltale signs associated with diabetic vision loss. Early detection is key to protecting your vision over the long term.
Eye Examination Process
At your eye exam, the staff will be there to walk you through the entire process. You will be asked to fill out a form that asks for contact information and brief medical history. We will take you to a private room where we will:
- Take your eye pressure
- Dilate your pupils
- Take retina images and scans (OCT and fundus photos)
- Conduct a eye exam with light and specialized equipment
This examination allows the doctor to determine any need for treatment and is an excellent opportunity to ask any questions you may have about your eye health. Treatment options vary depending on the stage and type of retinopathy. It usually only takes one hour to perform a complete eye exam for a new patient and less for follow up patients.
Treatments for Diabetic Retinopathy
We offer a wide range of the most advanced therapies available. When deciding how to proceed with treatment, it is crucial to understand the benefits and risks of each option. The earlier your condition is detected, the better the chances are of slowing, stopping, and even reversing the effects of diabetic vision loss.
You will dramatically reduce your risk of vision loss if you keep your blood sugar in check. If you can control cardiovascular risk factors (including blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking, exercise, and weight), you will lower your chances of developing diabetic retinopathy.
If your condition has progressed to cause diabetic macular edema (retinal swelling), more advanced treatments are required. Treatment for this stage may include intravitreal injections and/or laser surgery.
Diabetic Retinopathy – Late Stage Surgery
When diabetic retinopathy becomes severe, your ophthalmologist may need to perform surgery. The procedure is known as vitrectomy, where vitreous jelly is removed from the eye and damaged areas of the retina are repaired.
Eye Injections With VEGF
Diabetic retinopathy is frequently treated with eye injections (Intravitreal Injection). Avastin, Lucentis, Ozurdex and Eylea are the medications most commonly used. These medications can reduce swelling and blood vessel growth in the retina.
Excellence in Diabetic Eye Care at Baton Rouge LA
Louisiana Retina follows the most current scientific and medical guidelines for diabetic eye disease treatment. If you have diabetes, consider having an examination by our eye specialists before vision loss symptoms begin.