Diabetic Retinopathy Minneapolis, MN

The Importance of Knowing about Diabetic Eye Disease

November is Diabetic Eye Disease Month. Here, we discuss the risks that diabetic patients face and how long-term vision can be protected with a few simple steps.

Diabetes is a chronic health condition that has the potential to create a number of secondary problems in the body. As we have learned through years of research and practical experience, the eyes are particularly susceptible to the effects of unregulated blood sugar. In fact, studies show that the longer a person lives with diabetes, the greater their risk for diabetic retinopathy, a diabetic eye disease that could severely degrade vision.

How Diabetic Eye Disease Can Cause Vision Loss

Diabetic retinopathy is a condition in which the blood vessels at the back of the eye sustain damage. This can lead to:

  • Fluid accumulation around the retina and also in the vitreous cavity in front of the retina. This accumulation originates with weak, leaky blood vessels in this part of the eye. Initially, retinopathy does not show signs. Over time, weakness of one or more blood vessels can lead to a vitreous hemorrhage. Symptoms of this condition include blurry vision and floaters.
  • Macular edema. Swelling and fluid retention on the macula, the central part of the retina, may occur if diabetic retinopathy is not properly treated early on in its progression. As the macula swells, it may thicken, causing vision to become distorted.

In addition to diabetic retinopathy, statistics indicate that diabetes also increases the risk of vision-disrupting conditions like glaucoma and cataracts. Diabetic patients are at least twice as likely to develop one or both of these complications.

Vision Minneapolis MN

Protecting Your Vision

The primary problem with diabetic eye disease is that symptoms do not typically manifest right away. Because the key to successful eye health is to commence with a management program during the early stages of diabetic eye disease, awareness is vital to protecting vision. Patients are encouraged to:

Get Help with Blood Sugar Management

We know from clinical studies that blood sugar regulation is directly related to the onset of diabetic eye disease. Therefore, diabetes management is critical to the prevention of retinopathy and other conditions that may cause vision loss. Additionally, some studies suggest that keeping cholesterol levels lower further increases one’s resistance to diabetic eye disease. Blood sugar management can come from a partnership with a doctor or nutritionist and can be highly successful when maintained on a regular basis.

Get Annual Dilated Eye Exams

Patients who have been diagnosed with diabetes have a lot to gain by quickly scheduling a dilated eye exam. These exams are more comprehensive, allowing the ophthalmologist to observe the optic nerve, retina, blood vessels, and other important structures in the eye. A dilated eye exam would ideally be the first place for diabetic eye disease to be detected. This paves the way for prompt and appropriate treatment.

Vitreo Retinal Surgery proudly serves patients throughout Minnesota, including St. Paul, Minneapolis, and more. Schedule your diabetic eye exam with an experienced retinal specialist by calling 800-VRS-2500.

Non-Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy St. Paul, MN

Diabetic Macular Edema: What is it and What can be Done to Preserve Sight?

Floaters and blurry vision are relatively common experiences for most adults. Double-vision? Not so much. If these are visual disturbances that regularly appear in your field of vision, we encourage you to schedule a visit with a board-certified ophthalmologist sooner rather than later. These phenomena are potential indications of diabetes. If not properly diagnosed and treated, floaters, double-vision and blurriness could ultimately result in vision loss. Here, we discuss how these symptoms are related to diabetic macular edema (DME) and what we can do to help you preserve your eyesight.

Diabetic macular edema is a serious eye condition characterized by excess fluid accumulation in the macula. This is the part of the eye in which the most detailed vision capabilities are controlled. Fluid accumulates here when blood vessels in the eye leak. Diabetic macular edema is a complication of diabetic retinopathy, the primary condition that causes leakage from these blood vessels. When DME develops, it may do so in one of two forms:

  • Focal DME results from abnormalities in the blood vessels of the eye.
  • Diffuse DME results from swelling of the capillaries in the retina.

Diabetics whose blood sugar is not well-regulated are at risk of diabetic retinopathy and the complication of diabetic macular edema. Additional associated risks include:

  • An extended period of time with diabetes
  • Fluid retention
  • Severe high blood pressure
  • Hyperlipidemia (high-fat levels in the blood)
  • Hypoalbuminemia (low protein levels in the blood)

How an Ophthalmologist can Help

It is necessary for people with symptoms of diabetic eye disease to obtain regular eye exams. This enables physicians to stay ahead of complications of the chronic blood-sugar disease. If a patient presents with symptoms of diabetic macular edema, we work quickly and often alongside the person’s primary healthcare team to reduce pressure in the eye and stop the capillary bleeding.

Both focal and diffuse DME may be treated with laser eye surgery, though the technique for each differs slightly. Focal DME may be treated with a focal laser, whereas diffuse DME may be treated with a grid laser to cover a wider operative area.

Vitreo Retinal Surgery, PA has been established with the mission of helping patients save their sight. Our team is available for emergency care as needed, and has a strong commitment to treating patients as we would our own families. We have several facilities throughout Minnesota, including St. Cloud, Duluth, and Minneapolis. Call (800) VRS-2500 to locate an office near you.

Retinal Detachment St. Paul MN

Causes of Retinal Detachment

The retina is a structure that sits at the back of the eye. The layers of cells that make up the retina are ultra-thin and sensitive to light. This light sensitivity is what allows the retina to record the various wavelengths that enter the eye and use the optic nerve to send electrical signals to the brain. The signals transmitted through the optic nerve are translated into visual images. This is the process of sight. It is a process that directly involves the retina and one that indicates just how crucial it is to keep this part of the eye healthy and functional.

Retinal detachment is a relatively rare event that occurs when the retinal membrane loosens from its foundation on the back of the eye. Here, we discuss the symptoms, causes, and contributing factors of a detached retina.

Symptoms of Retinal Detachment

Contrary to what one may expect, a detached retina is not a painful event. Because there is no discomfort to warn of detachment, it is vital to recognize other symptoms. As the retina comes loose from the back of the eye, flashes of light, floaters, specks, and spots may suddenly appear in the field of vision. Shadowing and blurriness may also occur. Any one of these symptoms warrants prompt medical attention.

Retinal Detachment Causes

Cases of retinal detachment usually result from one of three common underlying problems.

  • Tractional detachment occurs when scar tissue on the retinal surface creates a pulling effect that loosens the retina from the wall of the eye.
  • Exudative detachment is a condition in which the retina itself is in good condition, but fluid has built up beneath it as a result of inflammation or injury.
  • Rhegmatogenous detachment occurs when fluid builds up beneath the retina due to a hole or tear in its structure.

Contributing Factors in Retinal Detachment

There are no telltale indicators that any person will suffer retinal detachment. However, specific contributing factors have been noted for increasing risk. When more than one contributing factor is present, routine retinal evaluation becomes even more critical to long-term health and wellness. People with more than one of the following may also want to have a plan in place to obtain prompt emergency services from a retinal specialist.

  • Over 50 years of age.
  • A family history of retinal detachment.
  • Previous retinal detachment.
  • Previous eye surgery.
  • Severe eye or head injury.
  • Advanced diabetes.
  • Extreme nearsightedness.

What to Do About Retinal Detachment

A detached retina can be repaired so long as it remains somewhat intact. This is why immediate medical care is necessary in the event of sudden-onset symptoms. If the retina detaches completely, the thin tissue becomes non-viable and permanent blindness will occur in that eye.

Schedule a Consultation

We are proud to serve patients in areas including Blaine, St. Paul, Minneapolis, Edina, and more. To reach an office near you, contact us at (800) VRS-2500.

Retinal Detachment Minneapolis, MN

Vitrectomy Recovery: What You Should Know

Patient wellness is a primary focus of the care provided here at Vitreo Retinal Surgery. To achieve our high standard of care, we prioritize patient education. If you need surgical retina treatment, we want you to know all relevant details so you can make the best decision for your eye health based on the full assessment of risks and benefits of any given procedure. Here, we discuss what patients need to know about vitrectomy.

What is Vitrectomy?

Vitrectomy eye surgery removes the vitreous gel that fills the middle section of the eye. The vitreous gel may be removed to allow direct access to the retina to address any issues that may exist. After the retina has been appropriately treated, the space between the front and back of the eye must be filled. In many cases, it is filled with a gas bubble. Sometimes, silicone oil is inserted into the space.

Who Might Need Vitrectomy?

Conditions for which vitrectomy may be recommended include:

  • Internal eye bleeding
  • Macular hole
  • Damaged caused by diabetic retinopathy
  • Retinal tear or detachment

After Vitrectomy

One of the critical aspects of vitrectomy recovery is that the patient maintains a consistent position that supports the gas bubble or silicone oil during the healing process. Specific activities need to be avoided until follow up with the retinal specialist. These include any strenuous activities, alcohol consumption, smoking, lifting objects over five pounds, and bending over. Several follow up visits may be scheduled after vitrectomy to observe the progress of healing. If silicone oil has been used, a secondary procedure is necessary to remove it from the eye, as this does not absorb.

Learn More about Vitrectomy from Vitreo Retinal Specialists

We don’t want you to have any lingering questions about the treatment that has been recommended for your eye condition. Our friendly staff is happy to speak with you or schedule a consultation in one of our conveniently located office where you can sit down with a qualified retinal specialist to discuss your eye health, treatment options, and questions.

Vitreo Retinal Specialists proudly serves patients from areas included Edina, Minneapolis, St. Cloud, St. Paul, and more. Call 800-VRS-2500 to locate an office near you.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration Minneapolis MN

Can Supplements Really Help Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

A diagnosis of age-related macular degeneration can be troubling. Although there are more than 200,000 new diagnoses each year, scientific research has not yet found a way to cure the progressive loss of vision. That is not to say there has been no progress in the management of this condition that thins the macula.

 

Every health food store offers a plethora of supplements specifically formulated to support eye health. Taking “eye vitamins” may sound like a good idea for a person who wants to reduce their risk of developing age-related eye conditions like nearsightedness or farsightedness; but can supplementation help you if you are at risk of a more serious eye disease like AMD? Furthermore, what if you’ve already been diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration and have noticed signs of diminished vision?

What Scientific Research Has to Say

Several years ago, researchers collaborated on the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS). This original body of research found that individuals with age-related macular degeneration may be able to slow the progression of vision loss by supplementing a healthy diet with a combination of particular ingredients, including:

  • Copper
  • Zinc
  • Beta-carotene
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E

According to findings, researchers suggested that supplementation may reduce the worsening of AMD by as much as 25 percent.

In 2013, a second study (AREDS2) tested varying combinations of the original ingredient list. Three additional ingredients were also observed for therapeutic value. These included omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Omega 3s are found in fish, while lutein and zeaxanthin are plant-based nutrients.

The findings of this follow-up study confirmed that the initial list of ingredients provides substantial value to patients with age-related macular degeneration. The primary merits of the new supplement formulation include improved safety related to lowered dosing of zinc and beta-carotene.

Quality Counts

No prescription is necessary to obtain an AREDS2 formula or any other supplement intended for eye health. However, quality counts. That is why we recommend products made by Focus Vision Supplements, a nutraceutical company formed by hundreds of ophthalmologists who share an interest in utilizing the latest scientific breakthroughs to improve supplementation for ocular disease.

Schedule a Consultation

Vitreo Retinal Surgery, PA has several offices throughout Minnesota. Schedule a consultation with us at (800) VRS-2500.

Vitreous Hemorrhage St. Paul MN

What is a Vitreoretinal Disease?

Vitreoretinal diseases are our specialty. This term does not describe a single condition, but a group of eye disease that affects the retina at the back of the eye and the vitreous fluid around it. A vitreoretinal disease may occur secondary to diabetes or another health problem. Conversely, aging may be the primary risk factor for some people affected by vitreoretinal disease.

Examples of conditions categorized as vitreoretinal diseases include:

  • Macular degeneration
  • Retinal tear or detachment
  • Macular hole
  • Diabetic retinopathy

Understanding Vitreoretinal Diseases

The retina is the lining at the back of the eye. This lining transmits light to the brain via the optic nerve and helps the brain identify what we see. At the center of the retina is the macula, where light focuses to make vision sharp and clear. Between the retina and the lens at the front of the eye, space is filled with vitreous fluid, which is clear and gel-like in consistency.

Vitreoretinal diseases are conditions that affect any one of these structures. Because the retina and macula are integral to vision, a disease in this part of the eye can temporarily or permanently diminish vision. Therefore, any symptoms related to vitreoretinal disease need to be evaluated by a retinal specialist as quickly as possible. Some retinal conditions may be detected during routine eye exams before symptoms become apparent. This is advantageous because it allows us the best possible opportunity to slow or stop the disease process.

Symptoms of vitreoretinal disease include:

  • Night blindness.
  • Floaters in the visual field, especially the sudden onset of spots.
  • Dimming in central or peripheral vision.
  • Flashes of light.
  • Severe eye pain.
  • Sudden vision loss.
  • Distortion of printed words when reading.
  • Distortion in central vision, such as wavy lines.
  • Extreme light sensitivity.

Treating Vitreoretinal Disease

Vitreoretinal conditions can be severe and may cause vision loss. In many cases, treatment is available to preserve vision and slow the progression of vision deterioration. Treatment methods are developed based on the type of retinal damage and the severity of the condition. In some cases, medication may be administered to support visual function. Sometimes, as in the case of retinal detachment, a minor surgical procedure may be necessary.

We are a Minnesota retinal specialist group serving areas including Duluth, Minneapolis, and more. To find an office near you, contact us today at (800) VRS-2500.

Retinal Conditions St. Paul MN

Is an IOL in Your Future?

It has been estimated that more than 3,000 cataract surgeries are performed each year. Cataracts don’t necessarily develop on the natural lens of the eye; rather, this condition represents a change in the natural lens caused by cellular accumulation. Therefore, the only way to remove cataracts is to remove the natural lens that has become clouded over.

No so long ago, cataract surgery only removed cloudiness. Removing the eye’s natural lens offered this advantage, but this coincided with the consequence of having to wear thick eyeglasses to see relatively well. Today, we benefit from the numerous advances that have occurred over the years. Patients who want to restore clear vision can accomplish this with the use of an appropriate IOL, or intraocular lens.

Why Multifocal IOLs Stand Out

Having any type of vision-correcting intraocular lens in place after cataract surgery is advantageous because there is no maintenance necessary, as there is with contact lenses. Multifocal IOLs represent sophisticated technology through which vision at various distances can be sufficiently restored. The implantation of a lens that focuses “near” and at a distance may take a bit of getting used to because the diffractive and refractive optics offer the brain a lot of visual information at once. Very quickly, though, the brain discerns which information is correct to focus the eyes for reading, driving, and other tasks.

When Combination Makes Sense

Cataracts may be a common condition, but an experienced ophthalmologist also recognizes that every set of eyes is unique. Cataract removal differs from one case to another; it’s not as cookie-cutter as taking out a clouded lens and inserting an artificial lens. Our objective is to restore the best vision possible. To do this, we may suggest a combination of intraocular lenses.

In some circumstances, the most considerable gain may be achieved with the use of a monofocal IOL in one eye and a multifocal IOL in the other. The monofocal lens is prescribed at a single distance (usually distance vision) to provide greater clarity for driving and seeing objects farther away. The multifocal supports near vision. In combination, the two may be more supportive of everyday activities such as working on the computer and driving.

Vitreo Retinal Surgery is dedicated to patient-centered care that promotes long-term wellness. For more information on our services, call (800) VRS-2500.

Retinal Detachment St. Paul MN

Why You May Need to See a Retinal Specialist

Retinal Detachment St. Paul MNEye health is an expansive subject that encompasses much more than basic vision. The eyes are complex structures that contain nerves and vessels and liquid and more. Therefore, there is no “cookie-cutter” method of managing the various conditions that may affect the eyes. This is why there are optometrists, ophthalmologist, and retinal specialists. The varying educational focus of each specialty allows doctors to meet the needs of patients with particular needs. Here, we discuss the needs that are met by the retinal specialist.

What is a retina specialist?

A retinal specialist is an ophthalmologist who has obtained further post-graduate training that includes a study of diseases and surgical techniques of the retina and vitreous body of the eye.  The retina is a layer of tissue at the back of the eye that is believed to trigger impulses in the optic nerve to send light to the brain. The vitreous body is the gel-like fluid that fills the space between the lens at the front of the eye and the retina. To fully understand the anatomy, diseases, and treatments related to this area of the eye, a retinal specialist completes approximately 10 years of educational training.

Conditions Treated by a Retinal Specialist

There are numerous conditions that can be treated by a retinal specialist, including complex situations that may be beyond the scope of a standard ophthalmology practice. Vitreo Retinal Surgery provides diagnosis and treatment for conditions such as:

  • Age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The degeneration of the macula is a potentially serious eye disease that can result in vision loss. Appropriate treatment for AMD requires thorough evaluation which, in some circumstances, may involve specialized instruments or techniques.
  • Diabetic retinopathy. This eye disease occurs secondary to diabetes and is triggered by elevated blood sugar levels. Too much sugar in the blood causes swelling and leakage in the delicate blood vessels in the eye. These vessels, as well as the abnormal growth of new vessels, may be treated with laser surgery and pharmaceutical therapies.
  • Retinal detachment. Separation of the retina from surrounding tissue is a rare occurrence, affecting 1 in 10,000 people. Surgery is almost always necessary to reposition the retina and close the hole or tear that caused separation.
  • Macular hole. The macula is situated within the retina and is integral to visual acuity. A hole may develop secondary to injury but, in many cases of macular hole, there is no known cause. Vitrectomy surgery is currently the only method of treating this condition.

We proudly serve patients from areas including Minnesota, St. Paul, and Edina. For a full list of our locations and services, call our office at (800) VRS-2500.

Non-Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy Minneapolis, MN

Why Routine Eye Care is Essential for Diabetics

Non-Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy Minneapolis, MNDiabetes is one of the most prevalent chronic conditions to affect Americans. In light of this diagnosis, healthcare providers are now well aware of the need for cooperation among various specialties. The unsettled nature of blood sugar in diabetic patients present a risk for some secondary conditions, from neuropathy to vision loss. Fortunately, when it comes to eye health, early and consistent management of both diabetes and ocular integrity can help doctors preserve patients’ vision.

The Retina, the Macula, and Diabetes

One of the most common eye diseases to occur secondary to diabetes is retinopathy. Referred to as diabetic retinopathy, this condition first occurs in a non-proliferative manner. Non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy is the early indication that damage has occurred in the blood vessels of the retina. There are typically no symptoms that manifest during this early stage of diabetic eye disease. However, it is at this stage when the best chance of vision preservation exists. What this means for the diabetic patient is that routine, comprehensive eye exams need to be obtained as recommended by either an eye doctor or a general health practitioner.

Non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy is characterized by microscopic bulges in the blood vessels that feed the retina. While the weakening of these vessels does not pose an immediate threat to vision, there is an associated risk because untreated, the weakness and damage in retinal blood vessels will worsen. This may result in poor blood flow or the leakage of blood and fluid into the tissue surrounding the retina. This is referred to as macular edema.

Macular edema is swelling in the macula around the retina. Because macular edema coincides with micro-aneurysms or bleeding of the retinal blood vessels, symptoms may occur and should indicate a need for prompt eye care. If you notice wavy or blurry central vision, schedule a consultation and examination at Vitreo Retinal Surgery. A minor laser procedure can stop current bleeding, and a treatment plan developed to lower the risk of future bleeds.

Diabetic eye care is an important matter of longevity and quality of living. Contact us at (800) VRS-2500 to learn more about our services.

Retinal Detachment St. Paul, MN

Retinal Tears and Detachment: What We Can Learn Through Experience

Retinal Detachment St. Paul, MNWhile we rely on proper ocular function for eyesight, very few people become well acquainted with the structures involved in the transportation of light from the front to the back of the eye. In most cases, there is no reason to learn about the intricate nature of the eyeball itself. When a degree of familiarity does come into play is when something goes wrong. Fortunately, if and when that point comes, you can rely on the training and experience of our team of retinal specialists.

Vitreo Retinal Surgery proudly serves patients from areas including Plymouth, St. Paul, Minnesota, Edina, and more. Here, we want to discuss how retinal tears and detachment are related, and when you need to schedule a retinal exam with us.

Important Ocular Structure

The retina sits at the back of the eye and appears as a delicate lining of tissue. A cavity is positioned just in front of the retina and is filled with vitreous, a gel-like substance that contains aqueous fluid, collagen fibrils, and macromolecules. As we age, the semi-stable consistency of the vitreous morphs into a water-like fluid. This transition is believed to occur in all adults at some point. As it does, the risk for separation, referred to as posterior vitreous separation, increases.

About Retinal Tears

The brain naturally wants to connect the dots between cause and effect. Regarding retinal detachment, there is more than one factor to consider. In some cases, we see retinal tears occur after a direct eye injury. However, posterior vitreous separation, as benign as it is on its own, may be the catalyst for a tear in retinal tissue if the pull on this fragile lining becomes too great. Bottom line, trauma does not have to occur to experience a retinal tear.

About Retinal Detachment

Most cases of retinal detachment are preceded by a retinal tear. Therefore, it is ideal to obtain professional care from a retinal specialist if you experience the sudden onset of floaters or flashes, or if your vision becomes darkened in general. Detachment occurs when fluid from the eye seeps through the tear in the lining, creating space between the retina and the wall of the back of the eye. Retinal detachment presents the risk of vision loss and needs to be treated quickly to reduce this risk.

Treating Retinal Tears and Detachment

Treatment for retinal tears and detachment may begin with the evaluation of posterior vitreous separation. Observing the back of the eye, we can determine if a tear has occurred, and how best to treat that condition. Tears are often treated with laser, but may also be treated with cryotherapy. Retinal detachment often requires surgery but may involve an in-office procedure if the extent of separation is not severe.

There is no need for retinal detachment to be a medical emergency. When floaters and flashes are evaluated early, there is a greater chance for conservative treatment.

For assistance with retinal conditions and treatments, call (800) VRS-2500.