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Diabetic Retinopathy

What is Diabetic Retinopathy?

Diabetes can cause changes in the eye, specifically the retina, resulting in vision loss or blindness. These changes can occur a decade or more after the initial diagnosis of diabetes, Type I or Type II, causing a slow and gradual change in vision. A dilated eye exam with your eye specialist and further investigation with a fluorescein angiography (FA) diagnostic test can effectively detect any changes in the retina called diabetic retinopathy.

Cross section of an eye

Diabetic retinopathy is a result of diabetic disease affecting the blood vessels in your eye. This can result in damage to the vessels with leakage and lack of blood flow. Your eye’s response to the lack of blood flow in the retina is to form new tiny blood vessels to supply the eye with the needed oxygen and nutrients. This is called neovascularization. These new tiny vessels are fragile and will rupture or leak causing hemorrhaging and inflammation in the eye turning into what is called proliferative diabetic retinopathy. Proliferative diabetic retinopathy requires treatment to stop further leakage and help preserve vision.

Treatment of diabetic macular edema is accomplished with Laser therapy as well as intraocular drug injections of anti-VEGF drugs Avastin and Lucentis.

Treatment of proliferative diabetic retinopathy is done using Laser therapy called Pan Retinal Photocoagulation (PRP) and intraocular drug injection therapy with Avastin, Lucentis or Kenalog.

Good blood sugar control and healthy lifestyle choices can help patients minimize the effects of diabetic retinopathy. Make sure to visit our links page for quick access to the Diabetes Association website for more helpful information on living with diabetes.

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PRP Laser therapy, injection therapy and fluorescein angiography diagnostic testing are all performed in our clinic


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Tel: 604-985-0405
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Eyewest Vision

Suite 300 - 1343 Lonsdale Avenue
North Vancouver, BC V7M 2H7