Diabetic Retinopathy

While most of us think of diabetes as a result of the increasing girth of the U.S. population and the skyrocketing cases of people with type 2 diabetes, we don’t usually associate this blood sugar disease with losing our eyesight. But that needs to change — diabetic retinopathy is one of the leading causes of blindness in the U.S.

At Central Valley Eye Medical Group we diagnose and treat diabetic retinopathy for our patients in Stockton, Manteca, and the surrounding areas.

What is diabetic retinopathy?

The retina is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. Its job is to receive light that the lens has focused, convert the light into neural signals, and send these signals on to the brain for visual recognition. When a person has diabetic retinopathy there are changes in the blood vessels in the retina. These vessels may swell and leak fluid. Abnormal blood vessels may grow on the surface of the retina. Diabetic retinopathy can develop in anyone who has type 1 or type 2 diabetes. The longer a person has diabetes, the more likely diabetic retinopathy will develop.

What are the symptoms of diabetic retinopathy?

One problem with diabetic retinopathy is that it often doesn’t show early symptoms, but damage can be occurring in the eye. It usually affects both eyes. Symptoms may include:

  • Floaters
  • Blurred vision
  • Fluctuating vision
  • Impaired color vision
  • Dark or empty areas in your vision
  • Vision loss

If you have diabetes, it’s imperative to see the team at Central Valley Eye Medical Group for yearly eye exams. During dilation, we can spot early signs of diabetic retinopathy.

How is diabetic retinopathy treated?

Treatment depends on if you have nonproliferative (early stage) or proliferative (advanced) diabetic retinopathy. In early stages, simply managing your blood sugar effectively can slow the progression of diabetic retinopathy. Medications are showing promise in preventing abnormal blood vessels from forming in the eye, but they are under study at this point.

If you have proliferative diabetic retinopathy, you’ll need surgical treatment. We may use these surgeries, depending on your situation:

  • Focal laser treatment— In this procedure, laser energy is used to either stop of slow the leakage of blood and fluid in the eye. Also called photocoagulation, laser burns close the leaking vessels.
  • Scatter laser treatment— Also known as panretinal photocoagulation, here the areas of the retina away from the macula are treated with scattered laser burns. These burns cause the new abnormal blood vessels to shrink and scar.
  • Vitrectomy— This surgical procedure creates a tiny incision in your eye to remove blood from the vitreous, as well as the scar tissue that is pulling on the retina creating detachment.

These surgeries are very successful in preventing blindness in most people with diabetic retinopathy.

If you have diabetes, it’s imperative you have yearly eye exams so that diabetic retinopathy can be spotted early on, when treatment is most effective. Call us at Central Valley Eye Medical Group, (800) 244-9907, to schedule your next eye exam.

Posted in: Comprehensive Eye Exams, Diabetic Eye Care


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Dear Friends,

We at Central Valley Eye hope you and your families are well. During these uncertain times, we are taking all necessary precautions to keep patients and staff healthy as COVID-19 infections continue to rise. We are following CDC and American Academy of Ophthalmology guidelines, including extra diligent cleaning, and disinfecting around the office. Our waiting rooms have been reconfigured to allow more distance between chairs, and we are turning away all non-urgent patients who are symptomatic with cough or fever.

In keeping with government and institutional guidelines, as well as to promote the practice of "staying at home," we are implementing new restrictions. Starting March 20th, we will be limiting our clinic only to patients with eye conditions that could permanently threaten vision if not addressed within two months. This means that many appointments will need to be rescheduled. Additionally, some of our office locations may be closed on certain days, as patient volumes are expected to decrease significantly. If you are unsure whether to come in for your visit, please call us.

The clinic is also establishing a telemedicine service to address eye problems that are less urgent, which can be managed over the phone by a physician.

The doctors at Central Valley Eye will not be performing any non-urgent surgeries until further notice. Our surgery coordinators will be contacting patients to reschedule the surgeries that need to be postponed.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at 209-952-3700.

Warmest regards,

Brandy Simpson
Practice Manager
Central Valley Eye Medical Group, Inc.