Diabetic Retinopathy

The eye doctors and Houston retina specialists at The Eye Clinic of Texas provide examination, diagnosis and treatment of diabetic eye problems and disease, including diabetic retinopathy, with laser treatment and Lucentis® injections. Diabetic Retinopathy is the most frequent cause of new cases of blindness among adults aged 20-74 years old. However, with early diagnosis and treatment, progression of the disease and its associated vision loss can at a minimum be slowed, and in many cases vision loss from diabetic retinopathy can be prevented. Today, we know that all diabetics need to have regular eye exams because with early and aggressive treatment of diabetic retinopathy it is possible to maintain vision and prevent severe vision loss for many patients.

Mild Nonproliferative Retinopathy is the earliest stage of diabetic retinopathy. It is characterized by the presence of "dot" and "blotch" hemorrhages and "microanuerysms" in the retina during your eye examination. Leakage from the retinal blood vessels may cause the center of the retina, the Macula, to actually swell, a condition called Diabetic Macular Edema. Mild Nonproliferative Retinopathy usually does not require treatment unless it progresses or if is accompanied by Diabetic Macular Edema

Moderate Nonproliferative Retinopathy is the second and slightly more severe stage of diabetic retinopathy. During this stage, some of the small blood vessels in the retina may actually become blocked. The blockage of these tiny blood vessels causes a decrease in the supply of nutrients and oxygen to certain areas of the retina. The best way to diagnose blockage of the small blood vessels in the retina is by having a diagnostic test called an intravenous Fluorescein Angiogram (FA).

Clinic Image - Retina

Severe Nonproliferative Retinopathy is the next progression of diabetic retinopathy and is characterized by a significant number of small blood vessels in the retina becoming blocked resulting in a lack of sufficient oxygen supply to the retina, called "Retinal Ischemia" which causes the growth and proliferation of new blood vessels, or “Neovascularization,” in order to try and reestablish the supply of oxygen.

Proliferative Retinopathy is the stage of diabetic retinopathy that carries a significant risk of vision loss. If left untreated, Proliferative Retinopathy will in result in hemorrhaging into the vitreous that leads to scarring and ultimately to retinal detachment with profound vision loss. 

Clinic Image - Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy

Depending on the stage of Diabetic Retinopathy, the potential for and the amount of vision loss, it is possible to treat, stabilize and often reverse the effects of the disease. Treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy can entail the use retinal laser photocoagulation treatment as well as intravitreal injections of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) Inhibitor drugs or other drugs. However, successful management of diabetic eye problems requires early diagnosis and treatment.