Diabetic retinopathy is a potentially sight-threatening disease of the retinal microvasculature. It causes severe sight impairment that can get worse over time.
With diabetic retinopathy, regular screenings are important as many symptoms may not develop until the disease is quite severe. The earlier we can detect it, the more effectively we can treat it. Among the different exam methods we use, popular ones include:
Visual Acuity Testing
This measures your eye’s ability to focus and see various details at different distances. It helps detect vision loss.
Ophthalmoscopy and Slit Lamp Exam
With this we see the back of your eye and are able to detect a clouding of your lens, changes to retina and various other problems.
We use gonioscopy to see whether the area where the fluid drains from your eye is closed. If our Calgary eye doctor suspects you have glaucoma, this test will be done.
Here we measure the level of pressure inside the eye. Again, this is used to detect glaucoma as diabetes can greatly increase your risk of glaucoma.
Unfortunately there is no permanent cure for diabetic retinopathy, but we offer various treatments that prevent or delay vision loss effectively. Photocoagulation, or laser treatment, is usually very effective if it is performed before the retina is damaged too severely. Removal of the vitreous gel may also help vision, as could injections of an anti-vascular endothelial growth factor.
These measures are taken if the diabetic retinopathy has affected the center of the retina, or if your peripheral vision is damaged. Otherwise you may not need treatment at all, but rather will be advised to check your vision regularly. Since there is no cure for the disease, it is essential to be continually screened as, even if you have received treatment before, the symptoms can return and you may need to be repeat the procedure to delay further damage to your sight.