The Retina Centers of Washington

  Contact : (301) 279-9123 , Fax: (301) 279-6828

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is a common condition affecting about 4 million Americans. It is the most common cause of severe vision loss in the population under age 60. The likelihood of having diabetic retinopathy increases with the number of years being diabetic, with 60% of adult onset diabetics and 95% of juvenile onset diabetics having retinopathy after 20 years. Blood sugar can damage the walls of the fine blood vessels of the retina, causing leakage and sometimes permanent loss of blood vessels. The full spectrum of diabetic retinopathy is divided into nonproliferative and proliferative diabetic retinopathy.

Diabetic Retinopathy 1

Photo of Nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy

Nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR) is the more common and typically less severe stage of diabetic retinopathy. It is subclassified into mild, moderate, and severe NPDR with each levels at a progressively more likely to develop high risk disease. NPDR is characterized by the presence of small hemorrhages and changes to the blood vessels of the retina. It can occur with or without edema (swelling) of the macula. For the most part, nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy is observed, although injections of medication and/or laser is typically performed if there is significant macular edema. Injections and/or laser can also be used in cases of severe NPDR, especially if there is a significant possibility of developing high risk disease.

Diabetic Retinopathy 2

Photo of Proliferative diabetic retinopathy

Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) is the more severe stage of diabetic retinopathy. It is characterized by the presence of abnormal blood vessel growth (neovascularization) which is fueled by ischemia (lack of circulation) to portions of the retina. Neovascularization in turn causes severe bleeding and eventually scarring of the retina and frequent results in severe vision loss. Proliferative diabetic retinopathy is treated with panretinal laser and injections of medication. A surgery called vitrectomy is often performed in hopes of stabilizing or improving vision.

Diabetic Retinopathy 3

Photo and OCT of Diabetic macular edema

Diabetic macular edema (DME) may occur with either NPDR of all severity levels or PDR. It is the most common cause of blurry vision associated with diabetic retinopathy. It occurs when the blood vessels in and near the macula leak clear fluid and lipid. This process may cause the tissue of the macula to become swollen with resultant loss of vision. It is treated with injections of anti-VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) medication, corticosteroids, and/or laser.

Retina Centers of Washington COVID-19 Safety Protocol

Dear Valued Patients and Friends,

We are truly grateful for the love and support you’ve provided us over the past few months as we navigated through the pandemic. With your continued support, we have been able to stay open, through this entire pandemic, to treat our patients' essential eye care needs. 

The safety of our patients, and our staff members, is our top priority; therefore, we have implemented safety protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and by the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO).

Here are some of our new safety procedures that are currently in place for when you visit our office(s).

Prior to Your Appointment:

·  You will be pre-screened over the phone when scheduling your appointment.

·  If you have symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, we ask that you call and reschedule your appointment.

·  If you have been exposed to anyone with the virus, we ask that you call and reschedule your appointment. 

·  We will minimize the number of people in the practice (please come alone unless there is a true need for someone to accompany you).

·  We request that anyone accompanying you to wait safely in their car, unless it is truly necessary for them to come into your appointment with you. We truly appreciate your cooperation on this.

Once You arrive:

·  We are requiring all patients to arrive wearing a mask (we will provide one if needed), and that it is properly worn through the entire visit. 

·  We will check your temperature upon your arrival.

·  We request that patients use hand sanitizer upon arrival and departure of our office.

·  We have reduced the number of chairs in the waiting area to respect physical distance protocol.

·  All magazines and brochures have been removed.

Staff and Strict Cleaning Protocols:

·  We complete daily prescreening for COVID symptoms for Staff, and Doctors. 

·  All Staff members will be using PPE and wearing masks at all times, including our providers. A face shield and gloves will be worn as needed.

·  Our staff regularly performs surface cleaning of frequently touched areas throughout the day.

·  Our waiting room, exam rooms, testing equipment, and other common areas are cleaned and sterilized after every patient appointment.

We thank you for your patience with all these changes, and for your cooperation as we continue to safely navigate through the pandemic. If you have any questions, please contact our office at 301-279-9124 and we will be glad to help you!