Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathycauses, symptom and treatments

Text size:
Last updated 9/29/2019
Dr. Assil explains how diabetes affects the eye.

What's proliferative diabetic retinopathy?

When the body is unable to produce or use insulin properly, glucose (sugar) builds up in the blood and damages blood vessels and nerves.  This also damages the small blood vessels that nourish the retina (which senses light and send it to your brain for translation into images).

 

In advanced diabetes, the damaged retinal blood vessels close off, causing the retina to create new but abnormally weak blood vessels to grow on the retina. 

 

This spurt of new weak walled blood vessel is known as proliferative diabetic retinopathy.

How diabetes affects eyesight

Sustained high blood sugar weakens the vessel walls, making them bulge. This causes leaking and retinal swelling that´s responsible for blurry vision occurring in early stages of diabetic retinopathy. 

 

As scar tissue accumulates, it can contract and pull the delicate underlying retinal layers away from the eye wall (known as a retinal detachment) leading to permanent vision loss. That's why proliferative diabetic retinopathy is the most common cause of vision loss among diabetics.

 

Symptoms of diabetic eye disease

The biggest challenge in managing diabetic eye disease is that there are no early symptoms. During the early stages, you do not experience pain or vision changes.

 

If your diabetes worsens and you develop proliferative diabetic retinopathy, you may experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Frequent changes in your vision from sharp to blur
  • Blurry or wavy vision
  • Poor color vision 
  • Areas of darkness or black holes in your vision
  • Tiny spots or fine dark strings (known as Floaters)
  • Flashes of light

 

If you experience sudden onset of any of the above symptoms or sense that a curtain has been pulled over your visual field, this can be a sign of a detached retina, a medical emergency.

 

Diabetic retinopathy, Assil Eye Institute Los Angeles

 

Proliferative diabetic retinopathy treatments

The gold standard treatment for PDR and macular edema is with medications that are applied directly within the affected eye via injection.

 

These medications, known as the anti-VEGF class, are designed to slow the growth of abnormal blood vessels and to keep damaged vessels from leaking: 

 

How anti-vegf medications work

Anti-VEGF medications work by blocking a protein responsible for the growth of abnormal blood vessels (called vascular endothelial growth factor, or VEGF). These medications also stop weak vessels from leaking. Because of this, anti-VEGF treatments can prevent further vision loss and may even improve vision in some cases. 

 

Anti-VEGF medications are administered via injection into your eye (once it has been numbed) using a very fine needle the thickness of a human hair. This is performed in our office. Typically, you are given several treatments in the first few months, and then fewer treatments over time. 

 

Why choose AEI to manage your diabetic eye disease

The AEI staff includes a highly skilled retina specialist Dr. Svetlana Pilyugina or “Dr. P”, as she is known to her patients. Dr. Pilyugina is an ophthalmologist with fellowship training and board certification in diseases and surgery of the vitreous and retina.

 

Dr. P brings with her many years of experience treating diabetic eye conditions. 

1160 Total 1st Party Reviews
4.9 out of 5 Stars
  • GatherUp
    I am confident in the approach regarding use of PRK. I would like to understand more about the use of the Vivex machine techno...
    Zachary H.
  • GatherUp
    Excellent care received.
    Sandra C.
  • GatherUp
    I first came to Dr. Assil for Lasik in 2000 and have been a patient for 19 years. Dr. May confirmed I have 20-15 vision in bot...
    James S.
  • GatherUp
    Excellent service and personnel !!!!!!!
    James M.
  • GatherUp
    Brilliant intelligent doctors
    Geraldine R.
  • GatherUp
    I have very much appreciated the excellent, knowledgeable and friendly drs and staff of Assil Institute over many years... than...
    Mariana C.
  • GatherUp
    Well I must say that I will always be forever grateful with Dr. Assil for saving my vision the way he did. Not only did he and ...
    Liliana T.
  • GatherUp
    While I am pleased with my initial experience, my ultimate opinion will be based upon the outcome after the full series of trea...
    Robert H.
  • GatherUp
    Very professional and answered all my questions.
    Leslie W.
  • GatherUp
    Would recommend to a friend
    Brian K.
Look Who Trusts Their Eyes to Assil Eye Institute...
  • LeBron James
    Los Angeles Lakers

    LeBron James is one of the NBA's greatest of all time. He absolutely depends on his vision to perform at the very highest level.

     

    LeBron trusts his eyes to Assil Eye Institute.

  • Anthony Davis
    Los Angeles Lakers
  • Chris Paul
    Oklahoma City Thunder
  • Dwyane Wade
    Miami Heat (retired)
  • Marlee Matlin
    Actress
  • Michelle Williams
    Actress
  • LaToya Jackson
    Entertainer
  • Lorenzo Lamas
    Actor
  • Philip Bailey
    Earth Wind and Fire
  • Gary Sinise
    Actor
  • Rip Hamilton
    Former NBA player
  • John Salley
    Commentator, former NBA player
  • Blair Underwood
    Actor
  • Tom Arnold
    Comedian/Actor
  • Troy Evans
    Actor
  • John Noble
    Actor
  • Isaac Eddy
    Actor/Director/Teacher
  • Barbara Rush
    Actress
  • John Emerson
    US Ambassador to Germany
  • Shane Mosley
    Former professional boxer
  • Cuttino Mobley
    Former NBA player
  • Seth Gordon
    Director
  • Maurice Evans
    Former NBA player
  • Wang Luoyong
    Actor
  • Jesse Metcalfe
    Actor
  • Ananda Lewis
    Television Personality
  • Rob Brydon
    Comedian
  • Clifton Collins Jr.
    Actor
  • Malinda Williams
    Actress
  • Adrienne Frantz
    Actress
  • Lacey Chabert
    Actress
  • Brad Pitt
    Actor
  • LeBron James
    Los Angeles Lakers
  • Anthony Davis
    Los Angeles Lakers
  • Chris Paul
    Oklahoma City Thunder
  • Courtney Cox
    Actress
  • Paul George
    Los Angeles Clippers
  • Dwyane Wade
    Miami Heat (retired)
  • Marlee Matlin
    Actress
  • Michelle Williams
    Actress
  • Jalen Brunson
    Dallas Mavericks
  • Mychal Thompson
    Commentator, former NBA player
  • LaToya Jackson
    Entertainer
  • Lorenzo Lamas
    Actor
  • Philip Bailey
    Earth Wind and Fire
  • Gary Sinise
    Actor
  • Rip Hamilton
    Former NBA player
  • John Salley
    Commentator, former NBA player
  • Blair Underwood
    Actor
  • Tom Arnold
    Comedian/Actor
  • Troy Evans
    Actor
  • John Noble
    Actor
  • Isaac Eddy
    Actor/Director/Teacher
  • Barbara Rush
    Actress
  • Rudy Garciduenas
    Blue Man Group
  • John Emerson
    US Ambassador to Germany
  • Shane Mosley
    Former professional boxer
  • Cuttino Mobley
    Former NBA player
  • Seth Gordon
    Director
  • Maurice Evans
    Former NBA player
  • Cheri Blauwet
    Physician and Wheelchair Racer
  • Wang Luoyong
    Actor
  • Jesse Metcalfe
    Actor
  • Jeana Wilson
    Actress
  • Courtnee Draper
    Actress
  • Ananda Lewis
    Television Personality
  • Robyn Johnson
    Producer
  • Rob Brydon
    Comedian
  • Cary Schuman
    Actor
  • Roland Buddy Lewis Jr.
    Comedian
  • Clifton Collins Jr.
    Actor
  • Malinda Williams
    Actress
  • Chad Jeffers
    Musician
  • Adrienne Frantz
    Actress
  • Franco Carlotto
    Body Builder
  • Brad Mates
    Musician
  • David Pichette
    Musician
  • Mike Melacon
    Professional Baseball Player
  • Nautica de la Cruz
    Radio Personality
  • Lynn Conkwright
    Body Builder
  • Nely Galan
    Producer
  • Roxanne Galla
    Actress
  • Lacey Chabert
    Actress