Looking for diabetic retinotherapy near you?

At Coastal Eye, experienced ophthalmologist Omar Shakir, MD, MBA, treats diabetic retinopathy and other diabetic eye complications with injectable medication and laser surgery. He also provides checkups to detect early-stage diabetic eye disease. If you have diabetes and need help keeping your eyes healthy, schedule an appointment online or over the phone. If you are also worried or interested in more information about dry eyes, learn more today: dry eyes.

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How does diabetes affect the eyes?

If you have diabetes, you’re likely aware that you can experience serious health complications if you don’t keep your blood sugar under control, and your eyes are no exception. Diabetes can cause significant damage to your eyes and even lead to blindness. This includes diabetic retinopathy, which is specific to diabetes, and an increased risk of conditions like glaucoma and cataracts. Diabetic retinopathy happens due to damaged blood vessels in your retina in the back of each eye. Your retinas sense light and convert it to signals for your brain to process. Eventually, diabetic retinopathy can cause irreversible vision loss. Like other eye conditions in their early stages, diabetic eye disease causes mild symptoms or none at all. To prevent vision loss, it’s essential to have regular diabetic eye checkups. Dr. Shakir uses sophisticated imaging techniques to catch early-stage diabetic eye disease when it’s easiest to treat.

What are the stages of diabetic retinopathy?

Diabetic retinopathy is called “nonproliferative” in its early stage, and the advanced form is called “proliferative.”

Nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy

Nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy causes mild or no symptoms. It means that you have weakened or bulging blood vessels in your retina. To prevent nonproliferative retinopathy from progressing, you must keep your blood sugar under control and regularly monitor it.

Proliferative diabetic retinopathy

Proliferative diabetic retinopathy requires urgent treatment. At this stage, abnormal blood vessels have formed on your retina. If left untreated, the condition can lead to serious complications like retinal detachment, glaucoma, and blindness.

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How is diabetic retinopathy treated?

Dr. Shakir provides in-office treatment to prevent diabetic retinopathy from causing severe complications. In addition to treating proliferative diabetic retinopathy, he may recommend treatment for nonproliferative retinopathy so it doesn’t progress. One treatment method for diabetic retinopathy is an intravitreal injection, which delivers medicine directly to your retina. You receive injectable medication under a local anesthetic, so you feel pressure but not pain. These medicines, including aflibercept (Eylea®) and bevacizumab (Avastin®), stop new abnormal blood vessels from forming. Dr. Shakir also offers MicroPulse® retinal laser therapy in-office. This procedure seals leaking, abnormal blood vessels and prevents new ones from forming. 

Preventing diabetic retinopathy

To prevent diabetic retinopathy, managing your blood sugar levels is essential. High blood sugar levels may damage the blood vessels in your eyes, leading to retinopathy. Following these tips can help you prevent diabetic retinopathy.

Control your blood sugar levels.

Keep your blood sugar levels within your doctor's recommended target range. This may involve taking medication, following a healthy diet, and getting regular exercise.

Manage your blood pressure.

Having high blood pressure can also damage the blood vessels in your eyes. Take steps to manage your blood pressure, such as reducing your salt intake, exercising regularly, and taking medication if prescribed by your doctor.

Get regular eye exams.

Regular eye exams can help detect diabetic retinopathy early when it is most treatable. Your doctor may recommend eye exams yearly or more frequently if you have signs of retinopathy.

Quit smoking.

Smoking can increase your risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. If you smoke, taking steps to quit can help reduce your risk.

Maintain a healthy lifestyle.

In addition to managing your blood sugar levels and blood pressure and quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy lifestyle can also help prevent diabetic retinopathy. Eating a nourishing diet, exercising regularly, and managing stress are all part of healthful lifestyle maintenance.

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Why choose Coastal Eye for diabetic retinotherapy?

Dr. Omar Shakir is a Yale-trained eye surgeon who was awarded one of the "Best Cataract Surgeons in America.” If you’re looking for premium eye care in a comfortable, contemporary office equipped with the latest technologies, Coastal Eye is the place for you. Dr. Shakir and his team safely perform surgeries conveniently in-office, providing you with quality, patient-centered care every step of the way. To schedule a diabetic eye care appointment at Coastal Eye in our Greenwich or New Canaan offices, call or use the online booking tool.

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