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Diabetic Retinopathy: What Is It?

Image of cute old lady wearing glasses.

Diabetic retinopathy refers to several eye problems that are characterized by damage to the light-sensitive retina, caused by excessive blood sugar levels. Almost half of Americans with diabetes suffer from some level of diabetic retinopathy. When glucose levels in the blood are not properly controlled, it can result in the formation of glaucoma, cataracts or blood vessel damage in the retina — all of which can cause vision loss if not diagnosed and treated early.

Damage to the blood vessels in the retina can eventually lead to permanent vision loss. High blood sugar levels can lead to the blood vessels in the retina swelling and leaking. This leaked blood in the eye damages vision. In severe instances, the retina can thicken and crack, causing new blood vessels to grow under the retina and through those cracks, which severely affects visual acuity.

Symptoms

For many people, the earliest stages of diabetic retinopathy do not have any easily noticeable symptoms. By the time vision loss is prominent enough to be noticed, most individuals have progressed to advanced stages of diabetic retinopathy that are harder to treat and manage.

Thankfully, regular eye examinations can help monitor the eyes for many of the common initial warning signs of diabetic retinopathy, including the following:

  • Floaters or spots roaming around in your field of vision
  • Poor night vision
  • An empty or dark spot in the middle of your field of vision
  • Blurred vision

Treatment

Treatment of diabetic retinopathy depends on the stage and severity of the condition. Through regular eye examinations and pupil dilation, diabetic retinopathy can be monitored closely to ensure accurate treatment. Keeping blood sugar levels within recommended ranges can also help manage or slow the progression of diabetic retinopathy.

In more severe cases, treatment also includes:

  • Laser surgery to repair retinal detachment
  • Intravitreal injections of medications into the jelly-like vitreous, near the retina, to stop the proliferation of blood vessels and halt further retinal damage
  • Laser photocoagulation (to close leaking blood vessels in the retina)

Locations

El Dorado

Wichita

Hours of Operation

Our Regular Schedule

Smith Vision Center - El Dorado

Monday:

8:30 am-12:30 pm

1:30 pm-5:30 pm

Tuesday:

Closed

1:30 pm-5:30 pm

Wednesday:

8:30 am-12:30 pm

1:30 pm-5:30 pm

Thursday:

8:30 am-12:30 pm

1:30 pm-5:30 pm

Friday:

8:30 am-12:30 pm

1:30 pm-5:30 pm

Saturday:

Closed

Sunday:

Closed

Smith Vision Center - Wichita

Monday:

8:30 am-12:30 pm

1:30 pm-5:30 pm

Tuesday:

8:30 am-12:30 pm

1:30 pm-5:30 pm

Wednesday:

Closed

1:30 pm-5:30 pm

Thursday:

8:30 am-12:30 pm

1:30 pm-5:30 pm

Friday:

8:30 am-12:30 pm

1:30 pm-5:30 pm

Saturday:

Closed

Sunday:

Closed

Testimonials

Reviews From Our Satisfied Patients

  • "My first time there and it was the best. Very knowledgeable staff, friendly, helpful and just plain awesome. I'm going to recommend them to everybody!"
    Rebecca B.
  • "I went to see Dr. Smith for the first time today and it felt like I was visiting old friends. I haven't ever enjoyed an eye exam like I did today. He and his staff are awesome and I will highly recommend them to everyone I know!!"
    Kelly P.
  • "Dr. Smith is awesome! He's quick and efficient and always knows what you need and gets it for you fast. The girls are so kind and very helpful when picking out glasses! Love mine!"
    Mandi S.