Many disorders can affect your retina, causing visual impairment. Some of the most common conditions include diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, retinal holes or tears, and retinal detachment. At KLM Eye MDs, the expert team of ophthalmologists, including retina specialist Dr. Moshe Szlechter, diagnoses and treats their patients in the Brooklyn and Greater New York areas to prevent vision loss due to retinal disease. Call or book an appointment online to learn more.
Diabetes is a term used to describe several conditions that all come down to your body’s inability to regulate blood sugar levels correctly.
High blood sugar can have a devastating effect on your circulatory system, especially the very fragile blood vessels in your eyes. When your sugar levels are consistently high, it can cause the blood vessels in your retina to swell up and leak or close up entirely, preventing blood from getting through.
Diabetic retinopathy develops in stages that include:
This is the early stage of the disease when your blood vessels begin to leak, causing your retina and macula to swell. During this stage, your vision becomes blurry as a result of the damage.
This is a more advanced stage of diabetic retinopathy when your retina starts to compensate for the damaged blood vessels by creating additional ones. These new blood vessels often bleed, causing floaters and even vision loss. The blood vessels can also create adhesions that can cause a retinal detachment, resulting in severe loss of vision.
Because of the prevalence of diabetes and, as a result, diabetic retinopathy, KLM Eye MDs has a retina specialist on staff: Dr. Szlechter.
If you have diabetes, it’s essential to have a specialist identify any early signs of retinal damage. To do this, Dr. Szlechter often uses fluorescein angiography, where he injects a solution into your bloodstream and, using digital photography, tracks its progress through your retina.
This in-depth look allows Dr. Szlechter to spot blockages and leaks and determine the extent of the damage, which aids in determining treatment.
Besides managing your diabetes as best you can, there are several treatments that the doctors at KLM Eye MDs turn to to help your vision. Since the practice has a surgical center on-site, these options include:
Dr. Szlechter needs to see how far along your diabetic retinopathy is before recommending a treatment. Rest assured, he works with you every step of the way to find a solution that best preserves your vision.
Macular degeneration usually occurs because of changes that happen in the retina -- the back part of the eye -- as a result of aging. It’s the leading cause of blindness in the United States and the developed world. There are two types of macular degeneration.
Dry macular degeneration occurs in the absence of fluid or bleeding in the retina. This condition usually happens slowly over time.
This is generally considered the more severe type of macular degeneration. Fluid, blood, or both, accumulates in the retina and the vision usually drops precipitously.
In early cases, specific vitamin formulations and monitoring are the mainstays of treatment. In more severe cases, lasers and injections of medications directly into the eye are the most effective treatments.
A retinal hole or tear is a defect in the retina. Some common symptoms of retinal holes or tears are seeing floaters or flashes of light. The dangerous part of a retinal hole or break is that it dramatically increases the chances of a retinal detachment, a potentially blinding condition.
Retinal holes and tears are usually treated with laser surgery. Laser surgery is a procedure in which a laser barrier is applied around the hole or tear in an attempt to prevent a retinal detachment.
A retinal detachment is a condition in which the retina goes out of its proper position. These frequently lead to blindness.
The most common way of fixing retinal detachment is via a vitrectomy where the “gel” inside the eye is surgically removed. Usually, a special gas or oil is put in its place. Another standard way of fixing a retinal detachment is a scleral buckle where a plastic band is surgically wrapped around the eye to push the eye wall into the retina.
Benjamin Franklin — founder of University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Szlechter’s alma mater — said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” That certainly applies to the problem of retinal detachment, where early interventions are associated with much better outcomes.
To prevent vision loss, visit KLM Eye MDs at the first signs of any retinal disorders. Call or make an appointment online.