Can diabetic retinopathy be reversed? Unfortunately, the answer is no. Once you have developed this type of eye disease, you will always have it. However, the rate at which it progresses can be slowed down and lessened with proper treatment and care.
Read on as a Saginaw, TX optometrist talks about diabetic retinopathy, the stages and symptoms of this condition, and available treatment options.
What Is Diabetic Retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy is the most common eye disease in people with diabetes. It’s estimated that half of people who have diabetes develop some form of diabetic retinopathy by the time they turn 60 years old.
Diabetic retinopathy is a condition that affects the retina. The retina is a light-sensitive tissue in the back of the eye, and it’s where images are formed. Retinopathy occurs when diabetes damages blood vessels in your eyes. And when diabetic retinopathy isn’t treated, it can lead to blindness.
The good news is it’s treatable. The bad news is that it’s not reversible, but it doesn’t have to lead to blindness. If your doctor detects early signs of the disease, they can recommend treatments to help prevent vision loss.
Stages of Diabetic Retinopathy
While diabetic retinopathy cannot be reversed, there are different stages of this disease you need to know about.
Diabetic retinopathy occurs in three stages:
- Stage 1: Early mild nonproliferative retinopathy. This is a stage where the retina is still healthy, but there are some small changes in the blood vessels in the retina.
- Stage 2: Moderate nonproliferative retinopathy. This stage has more blood vessel changes and the retina is becoming thinner.
- Stage 3: Severe nonproliferative retinopathy. This stage has more severe blood vessel changes and even more thinning of the retina than in stage 2.
Symptoms to Watch for
You can’t always tell when someone has diabetic retinopathy because the symptoms can be subtle and tend to develop gradually. Symptoms to look out for include:
- Blurry vision
- Shadows in your peripheral vision
- Floaters (little black spots that move around)
- Dark spots on your retina
- Seeing flashes of light called photopsia
- Trouble seeing at night
- Loss of color vision
If you’re experiencing symptoms of diabetic retinopathy, it’s important to see an eye doctor right away. Early detection and treatment can prevent further vision loss. Here are a some of the most commonly used treatment options:
- Laser treatment to close off abnormal blood vessel formations
- Surgery to repair retinal tears and detachments
- Surgery to remove scar tissue caused by the disease
If you have more questions or wish to schedule a consultation, feel free to call our Saginaw, TX optometry office anytime.