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We continue to closely monitor the situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and are following the published recommendations of the CDC and the American Academy of Ophthalmology. We will continue to see our patients and treat any urgent/emergent needs.

With all of our offices open, the following protocols are in place:

1) We have greatly expanded measures to disinfect our office including cleaning between each patient appointment.

2) To limit any potential exposure, we ask you NOT to bring any non-essential person(s) with you to the appointment.

3) If someone must accompany you to your appointment, we ask that they do not enter the office, if at all possible.

4) If you have an upcoming appointment and identify with the following statements, please do not come directly to the office, but instead call us:

• Fever greater than 100.4

• Respiratory symptoms or difficulty breathing

• Exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days

• Placed in self/hospital quarantine by medical doctor

 Your health and that of our staff is our guiding priority and we continue to update our protocol to ensure safety for everyone. If you have questions regarding these evolving protocols, please contact our office.

Retinal Disease and Diabetes By Retina Associates, P.A. on June 10, 2020

Digital illustration of how diabetic retinopathy affects the eyeDiabetes is linked to a number of eye conditions, including cataracts, glaucoma, and macular edema. One of the most common eye diseases affecting individuals with diabetes is diabetic retinopathy. This type of retinal disease is the leading cause of blindness for adults in the United States. In this informative blog post, our physicians at Retina Associates in Shawnee, KS, discuss retinal disease and diabetes, including symptoms, risk factors, treatment, and prevention.

About Diabetic Retinopathy

The retina is a membrane inside the eye that changes light into images. Diabetic retinopathy alters the blood vessels inside the retina, causing them to swell, bleed, or leak fluid. Left untreated, this condition can damage and scar the retina, causing vision changes or blindness.

There are two types of diabetic retinopathy. These include:

  • NPDR (non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy): Considered the milder form of the disease, NPDR does not usually exhibit symptoms.
  • PDR (proliferative diabetic retinopathy): This is the most advanced form of diabetic retinopathy, and is indicated by new, irregular blood vessels in the retina.

Common Risk Factors

Anyone with diabetes is at risk for diabetic retinopathy. This includes individuals with type one, type two, or gestational diabetes. Nearly half of all Americans diagnosed with diabetes will develop this condition at some point.

There are other factors that increase the risk of diabetic retinopathy, as well. These include:

  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Tobacco use
  • Ethnicity (Hispanic, African American, and Native American individuals have a higher risk of the disease)

Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy

During the early stages, diabetic retinopathy does not typically present symptoms. For this reason, it is imperative that diabetic patients attend routine eye exams at our Shawnee practice. We can detect serious problems before they worsen.

As the disease progresses, symptoms may develop gradually or suddenly. Here are some of the most common warning signs:

  • Blurred vision
  • Poor night vision
  • Floaters
  • Streaks or patches that obscure vision
  • Color vision impairment
  • Sudden, total vision loss

How to Prevent Diabetic Retinopathy

Unfortunately, diabetic retinopathy is an inevitable consequence for many individuals with diabetes. However, successfully managing blood sugar levels can help prevent the onset of severe disease. Keeping blood pressure in check is another way to reduce the risk of serious damage. Here are some other recommendations to keep severe symptoms at bay:

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet, rich in fresh fruits and veggies.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Consume alcohol in moderation.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight.
  • Avoid all tobacco products.
  • Attend routine eye exams and screenings.
  • Take any hypertension medications according to your physician’s recommendations.

Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment

Individuals with diabetic retinopathy should undergo comprehensive eye exams as frequently as every two to four months. If you experience any symptoms, treatment should begin right away. While it cannot reverse any existing damage, treatment can prevent your vision from worsening. Here are the most common treatments offered at our practice:

  • Injections: Corticosteroids or anti-VEGF medications can slow down the progression of diabetic retinopathy.
  • Laser treatment: Your doctor can use laser therapy to shrink the retinal blood vessels. This helps reduce inflammation and prevent leakage.
  • Eye surgery: Patients who sustain excessive scarring or bleeding may benefit from a vitrectomy. This procedure involves removing the gel-like substance inside the eye to allow for better retinal access. Once complete, the vitreous gel is replaced with sterile saline or silicone oil.

At Retina Associates, our doctors use the most conservative approach possible. During a consultation at our practice, we can determine which treatment will be most beneficial for you.

Schedule Your Consultation Today

If you have diabetes, it is important to keep your eye health in check. Routine eye exams and screenings can help reduce the risk of damage caused by diabetic retinopathy. To learn more, contact us online or call our Shawnee practice at (913) 831-7400.

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Retina Associates, PA logo

Retina Associates, LLC

Retina Associates, LLC is an advanced medical practice devoted to the diagnosis and treatment of retinal, macular, and vitreous diseases. Together, our eye care physicians belong to various prestigious organizations: 

  • American Board of Ophthalmology
  • American Academy of Ophthalmology
  • Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology
  • American College of Surgeons
  • American Society of Retina Specialists

Our mission is to help every patient preserve or restore their sight through our advanced treatment options. To discuss your needs with one of our doctors, request an appointment online or call us at (913) 831-7400.

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