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Eye Health Center

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Detecting Eye Diseases and Conditions

Treatment of Diabetic Eye Disease

"Scatter" laser treatment (pan-retinal photocoagulation) is effective for treating new blood vessels before or after they begin to bleed. Severe bleeding may be treated with a surgical procedure (vitrectomy) by removing blood from the center of the eye.

"Focal" laser treatment may be done to stabilize vision. This therapy may reduce vision loss by up to 50%.

These laser treatments may reduce the risk of serious vision loss and blindness. But they cannot cure diabetic eye disease. They cannot bring back lost vision or prevent future vision loss.

Newly developed medications can be injected into the eye to treat the complications of diabetes.

Steps to Prevent Diabetic Eye Disease

More than a third of people with diabetes don't get proper vision care. This puts them at higher risk for blindness. If you have diabetes, be vigilant about eye and vision care. People with diabetes, even those without diagnosed eye disease, need to see their eye doctor once a year. Those with diabetic changes in their eyes need to be seen more frequently.

Keeping your blood sugar tightly controlled (as measured by both your blood sugar and hemoglobin A1C levels) and your blood pressure within the normal range both help. Always follow your doctor's recommendations regarding medication, diet, and exercise.

Your Eyes and Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a group of related eye diseases that can cause blindness. Many people who have it don't know it. That's because symptoms don't appear until glaucoma has already damaged the optic nerve. This nerve carries images from the eye to the brain. Glaucoma optic nerve damage is usually associated with an elevated pressure inside the eye (intraocular pressure).

The most common type of glaucoma is primary open-angle glaucoma. Its causes are not yet clearly understood. Glaucoma can also develop without an increase in eye pressure, called low-tension or normal-tension glaucoma.

Who's at Risk for Glaucoma?

Glaucoma can develop in anyone. However, people at increased risk include:

  • People over age 60
  • Mexican-Americans
  • African-Americans, especially those with high eye pressure, corneal thinness, or optic nerve problems
  • Anyone who has had a severe eye injury
  • People with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes
  • Anyone with a family history of glaucoma
  • A person who has increased eye pressure

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