Areas of Expertise

Diabetic Retinopathy

What is Diabetic Retinopathy?

Manage your glucose levels before you manage your diabetic retinopathy.

When you have diabetes, your body has trouble storing sugar, resulting in changes in blood pressure, blood glucose levels and low energy levels overall. High glucose levels can damage the retina and cause diabetic retinopathy and Glaucoma. We’ll work with your Primary Care Physician to understand your diabetes treatment plan and then recommend a smart co-managed plan to help you see better.

What are the symptoms?

The following are symptoms for diabetic retinopathy you should be aware of should you be at risk.

  • Fluctuating vision
  • Continuous blurred vision
  • Glaucoma
  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Changes in blood glucose levels
  • Low Energy

What are the stages of Diabetic Retinopathy?

  • Non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR)

    NPDR is a milder stage of diabetic retinopathy, where tiny blood vessels within the retina distort your vision. Treatment from highly specialized eye surgeons includes lasers, medications or surgery.

  • Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR)

    A more advanced stage of diabetic retinopathy, where new blood vessels are too fragile to provide nourishment to the retina, potentially resulting in severely reduced vision. Treatment from highly specialized retinal eye surgeons includes lasers, medications or surgery.



While patients who are at high risk for diabetes should consult with their primary care physician and Optometrist during their yearly exams, there are steps that can be taken to reduce risk. Participating in yearly comprehensive Dilated Eye Exam with your Optometrist is a good first step as is maintaining control of blood sugar and managing blood pressure and cholesterol. And continue to live a healthy lifestyle by refraining from smoking tobacco and exercising regularly


Diabetic retinopathy can be detected when dilating a patient’s pupils during a routine eye exam.

After the eye is dilated with drops, a special lens examines the eye. Additional detection techniques include fluorescein angiography, used to photograph the retina and detect any obstructed blood vessels or Optical coherence tomography (OCT), used to determine the retina’s thickness.

Treatment Options

Treatment can be approached through a number of procedures. Talk with your Optometrist about which might be right for you. Our experts can then help improve your quality of life.

  • Sutureless pars plana vitrectomy (PPV)

    A surgeon removes or replaces vitreous gel from the eye through the pars plana. This procedure can be performed in conjunction with other surgeries.

  • TRD Repair

    A vitrectomy is performed to address Diabetic tractional retinal detachments (TRDs) The surgeon removes the vitreous fluid from the back of the eye using a laser to reattach the retina. Visual recovery is often slow, and does not ensure full restoration of vision.

  • Laser Treatments

    The surgeon dilates the eyes and uses high-intensity light to seal blood vessels and prevent additional blood and fluid from leaking into the retina and/or the vitreous, which is the jelly-like substance that fills the inside of the back part of the eye. During focal laser treatment (photocoagulation) or scatter laser treatment (panretinal photocoagulation) the retina is treated to slow, shrink or stop blood vessels from leaking.

  • Medication

    When surgery is not an option our physicians might also recommend Intravitreal anti-VEGF injections, steroids or antibiotics are injected into the eye to reduce fluid leakage and treat infection.

Learn more about our practices that provide these treatment options:

  • Ludwick
    Eye Center

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