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What is Diabetic Retinopathy?

Diabetic retinopathy results from complications related to diabetes. It is characterized by the weakening of tiny blood vessels that nourish the retina. Blood and other fluid leak from the weakened vessels, which can injure the retina, leading to loss of vision and can lead to blindness.

To diagnose diabetic retinopathy, your eye doctor will ask about your diabetes. Then, he or she will do a complete eye exam. You may have the following:

- A vision test using an eye chart.
- A dilated eye exam.
- A test to measure the pressure inside your eye. This is done with an instrument called a tonometer.

If your eye doctor finds you don’t have diabetic retinopathy, you may not need any treatment, but your eye doctor should definitely monitor your vision. Your regular yearly eye exam may be sufficient, though more frequent checkups could be necessary.

Managing your diabetes is the best method to reduce the risk or slow the progression of retinopathy. Follow your diabetes treatment plan, which includes:

- Controlling blood glucose.
- Controlling blood pressure.
- Eating a balanced diet.
- Exercising.
- Taking prescribed medications.

Your eye doctor will monitor any changes in the retina during regular eye exams. You may have the following corrective treatments:

-Pan-retinal photocoagulation - A laser is used to destroy abnormal blood vessels.
-Vitrectomy. This vitreous is removed because bleeding causes clouding which obscures vision. After your eye surgeon removes the vitreous it is replaced by a salt solution.

If you think Diabetic Retinopathy may be an issue for you, or it’s time for a vision checkup, schedule an appointment online with Nationwide Vision or call 1-800-EYECARE.