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Diabetic Retinopathy Specialist

Riverfront Eyecare

Optometrists located in Flint, MI & Saginaw, MI

Nearly eight million Americans have diabetic retinopathy, and experts think that number will double within the next 30 years. At Riverfront Eyecare’s two locations in Flint and Saginaw, Michigan, the experienced optometrists understand how severely damaging diabetic retinopathy and other diabetic eye diseases can be for your eyes. They’re here to prevent, diagnose, and treat diabetic retinopathy so you can keep your healthy sight. Call the office nearest you or book an appointment online to learn more.

Diabetic Retinopathy Q&A

What is diabetic retinopathy?

Diabetic retinopathy is an eye disease that affects those with diabetes. Diabetes causes high blood sugar, which can lead to blood vessel damage within your retina. The two primary forms of diabetic retinopathy are:


Non-proliferative is the early form of diabetic retinopathy. In non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy, you have microaneurysms, swollen areas within your retinal blood vessels. These blood vessels grow blocked and may leak fluid. This leakage can interfere with your vision and may also cause diabetic macular edema. 


Non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy may evolve into the proliferative form of the disease, in which your retina isn't getting oxygen. This triggers your retina to start neovascularization, the growth of new abnormal blood vessels. It's common for the delicate new blood vessels to rupture and leak into your vitreous body, the gel-like fluid that gives your eye shape. This often leads to scarring and serious vision problems.

Both types of diabetic retinopathy are serious, but the proliferative form is particularly dangerous and damaging. You're also at risk for retinal detachment and glaucoma if you have proliferative diabetic retinopathy.

What are the symptoms of diabetic retinopathy?

Often, diabetic retinopathy doesn't cause symptoms at first. But, as the disease progresses, you may notice decreased vision due to blood vessel swelling and leakage (non-proliferative), or blood vessel rupture and scarring (proliferative). 

In addition to a general decrease in vision, you may have:

  • Blurry vision
  • Floaters
  • Dark area in your visual field
  • Poor night vision

When you have diabetic retinopathy, it’s very likely that your Riverfront Eyecare optometrist will diagnose the disease during your routine eye exam or regularly scheduled diabetic eye care before you ever notice any symptoms. 

Your optometrist performs a dilated eye exam to see the back of your eye, at which time they can detect blood vessel changes in your retina. You may also have other tests, including advanced imaging and optical coherence tomography (OCT) before diagnosis. 

How do you treat diabetic retinopathy?

Riverfront Eyecare strongly recommends regular comprehensive eye exams if you have diabetes. This allows for the earliest possible diagnosis, which in turn, allows your optometrist to manage your disease and delay its progression. 

In the early stages of the non-proliferative form of the disease, monitoring is often the best approach. Your optometrist can coordinate with your medical doctor to recommend diet, exercise, and medication changes to manage your blood sugar and delay disease progression. 

If you have advanced non-proliferative or proliferative diabetic retinopathy, resulting in serious eye damage, your Riverfront Eyecare optometrist may recommend laser surgery, traditional eye surgery, or intraocular injections that slow down or prevent disease progression. 

Riverfront Eyecare is ready to help you manage diabetic retinopathy and preserve your vision. Call either office or book an appointment online.