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Diabetic Retinopathy

Connecticut Retina Consultants

Ophthalmologists & Retina Specialists located in New Haven, CT & Fairfield County, CT

When diabetes complications cause damage to the blood vessels of the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye, you’re diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy. The expert team of ophthalmologists at Connecticut Retina Consultants, with locations in New Haven, Hamden, Madison, Trumbull, and Fairfield, Connecticut, offers treatment for this condition that can compromise your vision and even cause blindness if not managed. Call one of the five convenient locations for evaluation if you have diabetes.

Diabetic Retinopathy Q & A

How does diabetes affect eye health?

When your body can’t produce insulin or doesn’t use it effectively to control your levels of blood sugar, or glucose, you have diabetes. Diabetes is a collection of conditions, including the autoimmune Type 1 level usually diagnosed in youth and Type 2, which often occurs in later adult years. 

Having too much glucose in your blood for an extended period of time can cause damage to the heart, kidneys, and blood vessels, including the ones at the back of the eye or retina. Also, wildly fluctuating blood sugar levels that happen with uncontrolled diabetes can affect the shape of your eye’s lens, resulting in blurry vision.

What is diabetic retinopathy?

Your retina is the light-sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye. When the blood vessels in the retina leak, swell, or close off, or if new, abnormal blood vessels grow on the surface of the retina, it’s called diabetic retinopathy. 

Who is at risk of diabetic retinopathy?

Anyone with diabetes is at a higher risk of developing diabetic retinopathy, especially those with poor blood sugar control. The risk of diabetic retinopathy also increases if you have diabetes and:

  • Are pregnant
  • Are obese
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Have high blood lipids
  • Are African American, Hispanic, or Native American

What is nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy?

Nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy describes the earliest stage of diabetic retinopathy. With this condition, damaged blood vessels in the retina begin to leak small amounts of blood and other fluid into the eye. Sometimes deposits of cholesterol or other fats from the blood may leak into the retina.

What is proliferative diabetic retinopathy?

Proliferative diabetic retinopathy is diagnosed when many of the blood vessels in the retina close, preventing adequate blood flow. Your retina then goes into a process called neovascularization, which means it grows new blood vessels. This may seem like a way for your body to solve the problem, but abnormalities in these new blood vessels prevent the retina from receiving proper blood flow. Scar tissue often accompanies the new vessels and may cause the retina to wrinkle or detach.

What is the treatment for diabetic retinopathy?

Preventing diabetic retinopathy from developing in the first place is the best path of treatment. Maintain strict control of your blood sugar to significantly reduce the long-term risk of vision loss. Diabetic retinopathy can’t be cured, but it can be managed to slow the progression of vision loss. Without treatment, diabetic retinopathy progresses steadily to severe stages.

If you have diabetes, especially if you have diabetic retinopathy, regular eye checks are important. Call one of the five convenient locations of Connecticut Retina Consultants for an appointment.