Having diabetes increases your risk for diabetic retinopathy, a condition that causes damage to blood vessels in your retina. Aryeh L. Pollack, MD, founder of New York Retina and Macula Institute, with convenient New York City locations in Midtown East Manhattan and Borough Park in Brooklyn, specializes in diseases of the retina. He diagnoses and treats diabetic retinopathy using the most advanced techniques in a compassionate, individualized, caring environment. Call to schedule an appointment or book online today.
Diabetic retinopathy is an eye disease that occurs when high blood sugar levels damage the blood vessels in your retinas. The blood vessels in your eye can swell and leak, or even close, preventing blood flow. If this happens, abnormal new blood vessels may grow in your retina and lead to vision loss.
When diabetic retinopathy first occurs, you may not notice any changes in your vision. But, as the condition progresses, you may experience the following symptoms.
Diabetic retinopathy typically affects both eyes, so it’s important to have regular eye exams, especially if you’re diabetic.
In addition to having diabetes, other risk factors that may lead to diabetic retinopathy and vision loss include:
Additionally, if you’re Native American, Hispanic, or African-American, you may have a higher risk of developing diabetic retinopathy.
First and foremost, if you have diabetes, it’s important to get your blood sugar levels under control to help prevent vision loss. Controlling blood sugar keeps the blood vessels in your eyes healthy so you can avoid the abnormal blood vessel growth that leads to vision loss.
To manage and treat your diabetic retinopathy, Dr. Pollack at New York Retina and Macula Institute may suggest the following.
Dr. Pollack may prescribe anti-VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) medications to help reduce swelling of your macula – the center of your retina – to slow vision loss. Steroid medications may also help reduce macular swelling. You receive anti-VEGF and steroid medications via injections to your eyes. Dr. Pollack determines your specific needs and how many injections you may benefit from.
Another treatment option is laser surgery. Dr. Pollack may recommend laser treatment to seal off leaking blood vessels in your retina. This helps shrink the abnormal blood vessels and prevent them from growing back.
For advanced diabetic retinopathy, Dr. Pollack may perform a vitrectomy. During this procedure, he removes vitreous gel and blood from the back of your eye. After this surgery, your retina can better focus light so you can see more clearly.
If you have diabetes and you’re concerned about diabetic retinopathy, schedule a consultation at New York Retina and Macula Institute by phone at the office location closest to you, or use the online booking tool.