Understanding Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment
Diabetic retinopathy can develop in any person who has Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. This eye disease is a complication of diabetes and hypertension and is caused by changes in blood vessels in the eye. As one of the leading causes of new blindness among adults in the United States, diabetic retinopathy is an important topic of conversation in the vision community. The longer an individual struggles to manage their diabetes without treatment to control high blood sugar levels, the greater the risk of developing retinopathy becomes.
What Are the Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy?
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the symptoms of retinopathy include:
- Blurry vision
- Blank or dark areas in vision
- Night vision issues
- Seeing colors that look faded or washed out
- Losing vision
How Is Diabetic Retinopathy Treated?
The primary goal is to help the individual achieve good sugar control. This is usually done through diet and potentially medication. Increasingly, patients with diabetic retinopathy can undergo laser surgery that seals off the leaking blood vessels. This can shrink the vessels and prevent future growth, as well as reduce swelling in the retina of the eye.
To be clear, this laser treatment is not LASIK surgery. The LASIK procedure affects the front of the eye by reshaping the cornea. Laser treatment for retinopathy concerns blood vessels in the retina, which is in the back of the eye.
Can Patients With Retinopathy Receive LASIK?
No, patients with diabetic retinopathy should not undergo LASIK.
However, some diabetics can get laser eye surgery to correct their vision. LASIK is an option for diabetics who:
- Have blood sugar levels under good control
- Do not have any signs of retinopathy or other eye issues
If you are a diabetic who would like to learn more about your qualification for LASIK, please reach out to schedule an initial consultation.