Duke retinal specialists are experts in the diagnosis, management and treatment of diabetic retinopathy. We use the latest imaging devices to identify the changes in your eye caused by diabetic retinopathy, and recommend the most appropriate course of treatment. Our specialists are recognized leaders in the field of diabetic retinopathy research. Our advanced training and experience ensures you get the care you need to prevent or halt the vision loss often associated with diabetic retinopathy.
Comprehensive care for diabetic retinopathy
Diabetes can damage your eye in many ways. The retina is the most common part of the eye that is affected, and when it is, diabetic retinopathy occurs. Often, the early changes to your vision go unnoticed. That is why an accurate diagnosis, at the earliest possible stage is important. The damage that can result from diabetic retinopathy can be caught early with sophisticated imaging technology. Your doctor can detect swelling, leaky or blocked blood vessels, as well as the growth of new, abnormal blood vessels before symptoms occur. Depending on the severity of your disease, we may monitor your condition, or recommend a treatment that best meets your needs. We work closely with you and your diabetes specialists to help you reduce your risk for vision loss, and keep your eyes as healthy as possible.
Choose Duke for your diabetic retinopathy care because we offer:
- Nationally ranked eye care. U. S News & World Report consistently ranks Duke Eye Center among the nation’s best.
- Latest imaging devices. Our researchers use the most sophisticated imaging to perform important tests that help us diagnose and treat diabetic retinopathy. Our high-tech imaging devices allow us to see the outer edges of the eye, a significant advance that better guides the treatment decisions we recommend to you.
- Specially trained experts. We have a wealth of experience based on our advanced training, and the large volume of people we treat with diabetic retinopathy. We routinely perform complicated surgeries in our surgical suites, which are staffed by anesthesiologists and surgical nurses who have also focused their training and experience on caring for people with complex eye conditions, including diabetic retinopathy.
- Low vision rehabilitation. If you are experiencing vision loss related to diabetic retinopathy, we conduct a thorough evaluation of your needs, and give you the tools and knowledge that allow you to optimize your visual function and maximize your quality of life.
- Leading diabetic retinopathy specialists. Our specialists travel the country to lecture and teach courses on diabetic retinopathy. Our experience and knowledge means we are well versed in all the latest advances. You receive your care from some of the best retinal specialists in the country.
- Comprehensive support. Our clinical social worker is available to help you cope with the emotional and psychological stress of vision loss, as well as other medical or environmental concerns.
- Research advancements. You may be eligible to participate in and contribute to our many ongoing research programs, which may lead to a better understanding of diabetic retinopathy, as well as more effective therapies and ways to manage the disease.
People who have diabetes and are at risk for diabetic retinopathy can slow its progress using medication and healthy lifestyle habits to control their blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and blood cholesterol
Medications that block or inhibit vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) have proven effective at limiting leakage and growth of new blood vessels, diminishing their injury to the retina. Monthly injections in or around the eye may prevent vision loss from diabetic retinopathy.
Also known as panretinal photocoagulation, this procedure uses sophisticated imaging to direct up to 2,000 laser points around the retina to shrink abnormal blood vessels. Two or more sessions may be necessary. Scatter laser surgery is performed in your doctor’s office.
A less intense laser targets fewer spots in the center portion of the retina. The laser seals leaky blood vessels to reduce swelling of the macula (known as macular edema), which causes blurry vision. Focal laser surgery is performed in your doctor’s office.
Tiny incisions are made in the white part of your eyes in a surgery performed in the operating room. Through these incisions, your surgeon can remove blood from the vitreous gel in the center of your eye, apply complete scatter laser, and repair retinal detachments that may result from diabetes..
Determines the accuracy of your vision by determining the smallest letters you can see on a chart.
Dilation drops allow your doctor to get a better look at your lens, optic nerve, macular and peripheral vision.
OCT is a computer-guided device that creates a 3-D image map of the front part of your eye, the optic and retinal nerves, and the macula. It detects changes in the thickness of the macula, and looks for small defects that may be difficult to obtain during a visual field test.
Measures the inner pressure of your eye using a tiny device that applies pressure to the eye.
Dye is injected into your arm to identify new or leaking blood vessels in your eye. Magnified devices capture images that cannot be seen with your doctor’s naked eye.