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Do you have diabetes? Are you experiencing problems with your eyesight such as floating black spots or the blurring of faces? Losing your ability to see is a terrifying prospect that we at Swan Family Optometry in Fair Oaks, CA understand all too well. Diabetes can lead to a number of other conditions that include Diabetic Retinopathy (DR). While this condition can be serious, it is treatable and even somewhat reversible.
The elevated blood sugar levels that diabetics fight can also cause a condition called diabetic retinopathy. It causes the abnormal growth of – or damage to – the blood vessels of the retina. Blood vessels affected by this condition can swell, leak, and/or close. If left untreated, permanent blindness could develop.
Trained ophthalmologists like Dr. Swan can use three tests to check for problems with your retina including those associated with diabetic retinopathy.
The doctor will administer special eye drops that widen the pupil allowing a special lens to be used to look inside the retina. Through this lens, the doctor can observe any visible signs of this condition.
This uses a special machine to scan the retina and provide a detailed image of its thickness. This allows the doctor to measure the swelling of the macula. This is the area located in the center of the retina and controls one’s central detailed vision.
With this test, a yellow dye – fluorescein – is injected into the bloodstream. As it travels through the blood vessels of the retina, a special camera takes pictures that allow the doctor to spot any abnormal blood vessels.
Depending on the severity of the retinopathy, the ophthalmologist may recommend one of several treatments. Injections that contain the medication anti-VEGF or a steroid can help reduce the swelling of the macula and slow loss of vision. They must be given into the eye itself and may even provide some return of lost vision. Another option is laser surgery. In this procedure, concentrated laser beams are used to seal off leaking vessels and reduce the retinal swelling. Moreover, it can be used to shrink blood vessels and prevent them from growing back.
For advanced diabetic retinopathy, a surgery called Vitrectomy can help to allow rays to be properly focused on the retina. This is accomplished through the surgical removal of some vitreous gel from the back of the eye, blood from leaking vessels, and any scar tissue. The success of any treatment depends on early detection and treatment.
Make sure your eyes are in the best shape they can be, call Swan Family Optometry at 916-966-6080 or stop by our office in Fair Oaks today.
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Very professional, thorough, helpful, informative and friendly. Great service. Highly recommend.