Diabetes can cause a number of complications with your eyes, including diabetic retinopathy. At Coastal Eye Surgeons in Greenwich, Connecticut, 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. To help keep your eyes healthy when you have diabetes, schedule an appointment online or over the phone.
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 results from damaged blood vessels in your retina, which is located 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 important 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.
The early stage of diabetic retinopathy is called “nonproliferative,” and the advanced form is called “proliferative”:
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 need to keep your blood sugar under control and regularly monitor it.
Proliferative diabetic retinopathy requires urgent treatment. At this stage, abnormal blood vessels have formed on your retina. This can lead to serious complications if left untreated like retinal detachment, glaucoma, and blindness.
Dr. Shakir provides in-office treatment to prevent diabetic retinopathy from causing serious 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.
To schedule a diabetic eye care appointment at Coastal Eye Surgeons, call or use the online booking tool.