Regular eye exams are important
When it comes to vision-related complications of diabetes, prevention is the key, says Sean F. Murphy, MD, an ophthalmologist with the Eye Care Institute in Louisville, Ky.
Nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy
In this condition the walls of blood vessels in the retina begin to weaken, sometimes leaking fluid and blood into the retina. Often there are no symptoms early on, and even later in the disease, damage may progress without warning.
Proliferative diabetic retinopathy
A more advanced form of diabetic retinopathy, this condition may cause vision loss as abnormal new blood vessels begin to grow on the surface of the retina.
The standard treatment for macular edema is called focal laser treatment. To slow leakage of fluid from blood vessels in the macula and reduce fluid in the retina, the doctor zaps the areas of leakage surrounding the macula with as many as several hundred small laser burns.