Diabetic Eye Disease

Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy in Chattanooga, TN

woman in {city} with diabetic eye diseaseWe know that living with diabetes can be challenging, and eye health is one of the many things that diabetes can impact. Our goal is to help you preserve your vision and maintain optimal ocular health. We partner with you to understand your current status and develop customized treatment plans to address your specific health care needs.

Making good lifestyle choices is one key factor in reducing your risk of developing eye conditions related to diabetes. Another is having your eyes examined regularly to identify and treat potential problems as early as possible.

As your expert diabetic eye doctor in Chattanooga, Glenn N. Pomerance, M.D. offers comprehensive diagnostics and treatments. Pomerance Eye Center, P.C. is your trusted source for the treatment of diabetic retinopathy in Chattanooga. Call to schedule your appointment today!


What Is Diabetic Retinopathy and How Do I Tell if I Have It?

Diabetes is most often considered a problem of blood glucose control.  Indeed it is, but the real issue is often the vascular problem it creates.

Many individual with diabetes either do not have diabetic eye disease or have it and don't know it. Symptoms of diabetic eye disease can range from none at all, to blurring, distortion, or total loss of vision. Only a comprehensive eye exam can determine the state of diabetic eye disease

Advanced Diagnostics for Diabetic Eye Diseases

blurred vision of patient with diabetic retinopathyDiabetes can be a devastating disease. The best way to preserve good vision is to vigilantly control blood sugar levels, which will lessen the chance or retinopathy and slow its rate of advancement. Your primary care provider will periodically check the A1C level in your blood. This test is both a good reflection of control and a good indicator of prognosis. Optimal A1C is under 6.4 mg/dl in diabetics. Over 7.0 indicates poor control and high risk for disease progression.

In the eye, diabetes creates four different problems that can occur independently or in combination. First, uncontrolled diabetes can cause fluid retention in various parts of your body. Some of the fluid can get into the lens of the eye and create a cataract by causing bubbles to form. The bubbles scatter light and result in vision impairment. When the cataract causes a functional impairment, cataract surgery can be one.

Second,  high blood sugar causes red blood cells to become sticky. The cells clump and form a "rouleaux,"
which can be large enough to clog tiny capillaries. This status often leads to diabetic optic neuropathy or damage to the optic nerve, the cable that carries all the information the eye collects to the brain. Unfortunately, this damage cannot be repaired. diabetes can cause dysfunction in the cells that repair your blood vessels. This means blood vessel walls don't get the maintenance they need. Leaks can develop, much like a leaky hose, and result in little or no flow, causing the retina to lose its blood supply.

Third diabetes can cause dysfunction in the cells that repair your blood vessels. This means blood vessel walls don't get the constant maintenance and repair they need. Leaks can develop, much like a leady hose, and result in little or no flow, causing the retina to lose its blood supply.

The body will attempt to rebuild the blood supply, but it often does so in a disorganized way. This effort can result in the development of blood vessels in areas where they are not desirable. These vessels leak more than the ones the body grew before diabetes started. Proper diabetes management is necessary to maintain blood vessel repairs and to prevent further damage from occurring. Several methods to treat this sate of disease are discussed below.

Lastly, when the retina becomes sick enough, it begins to swell. When this swelling occurs in the area of the retina that provides central vision, eyesight can be significantly distorted. This condition is called Cystoid Macular Edema. Treatment for this is also discussed below.

Professional Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy

Chattanooga, TN diabetic eye disease specialist checking patient eyesightTreatments for diabetic retinopathy vary based upon the nature and progression of the condition. An effective method to admonish fluid collections in the retina and to suppress new blood vessel growth is anti-VEGF injections, VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) is released whenever there is a reduction in blood supply. It is the body's natural way of repairing a loss of circulation, although sometimes it makes matters worse. An attempt tor reduce the harmful effect of bleeding and fluid collection in the eye uses anti-VEGF mediations injected into the eye. Although this sounds terrible, it is usually done with out discomfort by the ophthalmologist.

Once the disease is in advanced stages,  a type of laser surgery called retinal photocoagulation. This technique burns many tiny dots across the retina to seal off leaky blood vessels and discourage further blood vessel growth. This surgery does not cure diabetic retinopathy, but it can help to save your remaining vision.

Diabetes can impact the vitreous humor, a clear, gel-like fluid that occupies the space between your eye's retina and lens. If the vitreous humor has become clouded by blood leakage, there is a chance your eye may naturally purge it. If clouding persists, it may be necessary to perform a vitrectomy, the surgical removal of the vitreous humor. A retinal specialist can replace it with a saline solution, clearing the visual pathway. This procedure can restore obscured vision, but it cannot repair any existing retinal damage or detachment.

So for the various levels of disease there are various levels and types of treatments.

Comprehensive Care for Diabetic Retinopathy in Chattanooga

At Pomerance Eye Center, P.C., we help you achieve and maintain an improved quality of life. Our complete and specialized care for diabetic retinopathy can help save your vision and preserve your independence. If you have diabetes or are experiencing any symptoms of diabetic retinopathy, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule a consultation.  Drs. Pomerance, Robison, Lee and Gannon are experienced and available to assist diabetic patients.

Call to schedule your appointment today!