The answer is that many potentially devastating eye problems
develop without causing discomfort or distorting vision.
In addition, there’s diabetic
retinopathy, a serious complication that is more likely to
occur in people with Type 1 diabetes but may develop in anyone
Tight blood glucose control can significantly reduce the
incidence and severity of diabetic retinopathy, but the only way
to identify this and other eye problems in their earliest and
most treatable stages is to have regular, comprehensive eye
There’s no reason to avoid an eye exam; it involves a series
of painless tests that check your visual acuity and general eye
health and screen for signs of disease.
The earliest changes of retinopathy can be temporary: here
today and gone in six months. If damage continues, though, the
risk increases that new, abnormal blood vessels will start to
sprout in retina and poke through into the vitreous. This
important change is called going from background retinopathy to
If diabetic retinopathy is present, it may cause damage near the
macula. Fluid leaking into the macula makes it swell like
a mosquito bite. This swelling, called macular edema, is the
most common cause of visual impairment in diabetic retinopathy.
(Reduced blood supply to the macula is a less common occurrence.
As yet, it is not treatable.)
The new blood vessels apparently proliferate in an attempt to
increase blood and oxygen supply to the damaged retina. They are
so fragile, though, that they rupture at a cough, a sneeze, or
even during sleep. Blood pours into the retina, blocking vision
suddenly. When the bleeding stops, scar tissue forms, tugging at
the retina and adding the potential for a retinal detachment.
Untreated proliferative retinopathy usually leads to
blindness. Not long ago, diabetic retinopathy was just about the
most discouraging condition that ophthalmologists had to deal
with. Fortunately, in recent years, a number of large national
studies have proven that laser treatment of the retina can help
control proliferative diabetic retinopathy and significantly
prolong useful vision.
Ironically, laser treatment works by producing scarring on
the affected retina. The treated part of the retina will no
longer see, but the laser treatment halts the growth of new
blood vessels and preserves vision in the most important part of
the retina, the macula. Laser treatment for diabetic retinopathy
is a tremendous tool that has expanded the ability to treat
diabetic eye problems.
If you are diagnosed with proliferative
retinopathy, Doctor Swedberg may recommend a
Angiography, a procedure that injects a small amount of
fluorescein dye in the blood that show up in the back of the eye
and maps abnormal blood vessel growth.
procedure is done in our office with a special camera, and
results are assessed at the time of the appointment.
After going over the photographs with
you, Doctor Swedberg may recommend laser treatment. Laser
treatment scheduled and preformed at Swedish Edmonds Eye