Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetes is a serious condition that is characterized by uncontrolled blood sugar levels. Diabetes can cause complications with several body systems, including the eyes. One such complication is diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy occurs when the blood vessels in the retina become damaged. It also occurs when abnormal blood vessels form. Unfortunately, there is no cure for this condition. However, the professionals at Saratoga Vision can create a treatment program to slow the profession of the disease.


Who Is at Risk for Diabetic Retinopathy?

Anyone who has diabetes is at risk for diabetic retinopathy. However, certain factors can increase your risk for this condition, including:

  • Poor blood sugar control
  • The length of time that you have had. The longer you have had the condition, the more likely you are to develop diabetic retinopathy.
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Pregnancy
  • Smoking

Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy

In the early stages of the disease, you may not notice any symptoms. As the condition progresses, you may experience:

  • Dark spots in your vision
  • Dark floating objects in your vision
  • Impaired color vision
  • Empty spots in your vision
  • Vision loss

Diagnosing Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy can be diagnosed during your annual eye exam. Our eye doctor will check your eyes for:

  • Abnormal blood vessels
  • The growth of new blood vessels
  • Bleeding, fluid leakage, or fatty deposits in the retina
  • Abnormalities of the optic nerve

Fluorescein angiography will allow our optometrist to see any blood vessels that are bleeding, leaking, or closed. It can also help us pinpoint new blood vessels that have formed. We may also perform an optical coherence tomography, which produces a cross-section of the retina to determine if the fluid has leaked into the retina. These tests allow our eye doctor to track the progression of diabetic retinopathy.


As the disease progresses, treatment options to slow the progression of the disease include:

  • Focal laser treatment: This is a laser treatment that can stop or slow blood and fluid leakage in the retina.
  • Scatter laser treatment: This procedure is designed to shrink the abnormal blood vessels that have formed.
  • Vitrectomy: During this procedure, our eye doctor will put a tiny incision in your eye to remove blood from the middle of the eye. It will also allow them to remove the scar tissue that is tugging on the retina.
  • Medication injections: Your doctor can inject medication in your eye to stop the growth of new blood vessels.

Optometrist in Saratoga Springs

If you are at risk for diabetic retinopathy or any other diabetic eye disease, Saratoga Vision in Saratoga Springs is ready to assist you. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call us at (518) 587-5900.  

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