Ways to Stay
Ahead of DR
40 to 45 percent of Americans diagnosed with diabetes have some stage of Diabetic Retinopathy. Whether you’ve been diagnosed with DR or not, there’s a lot you can do right now to help against vision loss. Hear about DR from the experts, review treatment options, understand who can develop the disease, and learn how it is diagnosed and monitored.
What Is DR?
DR occurs when chronically high levels of blood sugar damage the blood vessels in the eye. DR often does not have any signs or symptoms in its early stages. However, as the disease becomes more severe, the damaged blood vessels can leak fluid and cause vision loss over time.
Review Treatment Options
Early detection, timely treatment, and follow-up care can help reduce disease severity and the risk of blindness caused by DR. Treatments for DR include but are not limited to anti-VEGF medicines and laser therapy.
DR is associated with abnormally high levels of a naturally occurring protein called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which may cause the eye to form leaky blood vessels that may lead to vision loss. Anti-VEGF medicines are injected into the eye to bind to the VEGF protein and help keep these blood vessels from leaking fluid.
Laser photocoagulation is a common treatment for DR that uses a beam of high-energy light to seal off or destroy leaking vessels and reduce the swelling that may be causing vision loss.
Who Can Develop DR?
You are more likely to develop DR if you:
- Have diabetes, especially if you have been living with it for over 10 years
- Are Hispanic, American Indian or non-Hispanic African American
- Have a history of smoking
- Have high A1C levels
- Have high cholesterol
- Have high blood pressure
After I was diagnosed with diabetic eye disease, I started to really look at my life and my options. I realized that I’d already had so many opportunities that others would never have and that I should be grateful. This diagnosis wouldn’t be the end of the line for me. I just had to change my plans and sign up for a new adventure.
How is DR Diagnosed and Monitored?
Doctors can diagnose and monitor DR using a variety of different tests. One of the most commonly used methods is a dilated eye exam. Learn more by watching this video.
prep for your eye appointment
Find The Way Forward
Receiving a DR diagnosis can be scary and overwhelming. This brochure can help you assess your options and start a conversation with your eye health team.