Using a Laser to Fight Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetes and the health of your eyes aren’t a match made in heaven. Various eye conditions can stem from high blood sugar levels of diabetes: diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and cataracts. Diabetic retinopathy is the most common cause of vision loss among those with diabetes. It affects approximately 1 out of every 3 adults with diabetes.

But, with appropriate care from Dr. Wilkins and Dr. Donohue at The Eye Clinic, any damage to your vision can be reduced up to 95 percent. One of those treatments is scatter laser treatment.

Diabetic retinopathy

Retinopathy is defined as damage to the blood vessels of the retina, the layer at the back of the eyeball containing cells that are sensitive to light and that trigger nerve impulses that pass through the optic nerve to the brain, which then creates a visual image for the viewer.

Diabetes, both type 1 and type 2, can cause retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is the most common diabetic eye disease and one of the leading causes of blindness in Americans. The eye disease affects the retina in two ways. In some people the blood vessels swell and leak fluid into the center of the eye. In others, abnormal new blood vessels grow on the surface of the retina.

Scatter laser treatment

To treat both of these conditions, at The Eye Clinic we use a laser to perform panretinal photocoagulation, colloquially known as scatter laser treatment. Although it sounds scary using a laser inside the eye, scatter laser treatment can save a person’s sight.

In the procedure, 1,000 to 2,000 laser burns are made to the abnormal blood vessels. This causes them to shrink. Due to the number of laser burns required, two or more sessions are usually required for the treatment.

Scatter laser treatment at The Eye Clinic can save the sight of the patient. There may be some loss of side vision with the procedure, and there may also be some reduction of color and night vision, but overall vision can be saved.

Still, as with all eye conditions, the earlier we see the problem, the better. Why? Scatter laser treatment works best when used before the fragile, new blood vessels have started to bleed. A regular, comprehensive eye exam will show diabetic retinopathy.

Call us at (503) 297-4718 to schedule your new eye exam or with other eye concerns.

Posted in: Diabetic Eye Care

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St. Vincent: 503.297.4718