According to Thomas Stone, MD, Retina Associates of Kentucky and new member of KentuckyOne Health Partners, more and more Kentuckians are being diagnosed and treated for diabetes. One of the most devastating complications of this disease is the vision loss that comes from retinopathy. Studies have shown this eye disease begins to threaten the vision of diabetic patients before they have symptoms. These same studies have shown that if diabetic retinopathy is caught early and treated, much of that vision loss can be prevented.
Retina Associates is a statewide practice specializing in medical and surgical treatment of patients with diseases of the retina and vitreous. While their practice does not perform routine diabetic screening, they care for patients sent by other eye doctors who have more severe diabetic eye disease and need treatment. The physicians also serve as principal investigators in national clinical trials with research centers such as the National Eye Institute.
“The recommendation from the American Academy of Ophthalmology in their Preferred Practice Pattern is that diabetics have a dilated eye exam annually. Regionally, some health systems recommend that primary care providers send their patients for such an exam every two years if there is no evidence of retinopathy and the patient has acceptable glycemic control,” said Dr. Stone. “If PCPs have diabetic patients who have not received a dilated eye exam in over two years, they need to schedule them with a patient’s eye doctor to get this important evaluation.”
Dr. Stone continued, “In the near future, these evaluations may be available for patients through the primary care office. Recently, the use of telemedicine screenings with near automated retinal cameras have become available and make it increasingly easy for providers to get patients screened – without the challenges of tracking results, and allowing for improvement with your documentation.”
As in most conditions, early diagnosis is the key. With new treatments, much of the eye disease can be treated, and even reversed. If left untreated for too long, permanent vision loss and even blindness can occur.
For more information about Retina Associates of Kentucky, their specialists, clinical trials or locations across the state, contact them at 1-800-627-2020 or visit www.retinaky.com.
Proliferative diabetic retinopathy with superotemporal tractional retinal detachment:
OCT Angiography, showing normal appearance on the left, and ischemic retina with loss of macular vessels and poor vision from diabetic retinopathy on the right: