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Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetes  is the leading cause of blindness in adults under the age of 65.   It is a complex disorder involving small blood vessels.  These blood vessels provide nutrients to all the structures in the body, including the eyes.  

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In diabetes, the blood vessels begin to leak fluid and blood.  This causes damages to the surrounding structures and interferes with the transport of needed nutrients.   

Research findings show that complications  can be delayed with proper care and monitoring of the disease.  Diabetes can effect  many structures in the eye, causing double vision from the muscle palsies, fluctuations in vision from sugar level changes and decreased vision from cataracts.  

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The most serious vision problems arise from hemorrhages in the retina, swelling of the retina, and from the growth of abnormal blood vessels in the eye.  Laser therapy is used, when possible, to treat the retina.   Retinal disease in diabetes is divided into two forms...non-proliferative and proliferative.  Non-proliferative retinopathy  is present when there are hemorrhages, small dilations of the vessel wall and leakage of fluid into the surrounding retina.  Proliferative retinopathy has the added problem of new blood vessels forming.  These vessels will leak and bleed if left untreated. 

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The most common  cause of decreased vision is swelling of the retina from leaky blood vessels.   Lasers are used to treat these leaks when possible.  Regular examinations are critical  for early diagnosis and to determine  when treatment will be most effective.  Vision can be preserved in the majority of patients who are diagnosed early and examined  regularly.  You should start your regular examinations today...

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