Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness among Americans between the ages of 25 and 70. The condition typically develops without early warning signs. The damage to the eye can occur slowly and is hard to detect without regular and accurate monitoring. It’s important that patients be referred before the impairment is so severe that they cannot be treated. When it comes to saving vision, timing is everything.
Between 80 to 85 percent of individuals with diabetes will develop some level of retinopathy. Individuals with Type I diabetes are more likely to develop the condition than those with Type II diabetes. The longer an individual has diabetes, the higher the risk that retinopathy will develop, even in those with Type II diabetes. If individuals with diabetic retinopathy are treated properly before the retina is severely damaged, patients have an excellent chance of stabilizing the disease and stopping its progress.
The Yale Eye Center provides a comprehensive program for the diagnosis and treatment of diabetic eye disease. Focal laser surgery, or photocoagulation, is utilized to treat retinopathy at the advanced stages. Vitrectomy is performed to restore vision by removing hemorrhaged areas and to repair retinal detachment.