Diabetic Retinopathy Is Frequently the Reason for Eye Surgery

January 13, 2009

“A large percentage of the surgeries I do,” said Dr. Lazarus, “are for damage to the retina caused by diabetes. My goal is to treat it without surgery whenever possible. However, when a patient does not seek treatment in a timely manner, or when the patient’s condition can’t be treated any other way, surgery becomes the solution.”

“Diabetes is a disease that can damage the small blood vessels in the body, including those in the retina,” Dr. Lazarus explained. “As the damage progresses, it diminishes blood flow. This is the body’s trigger to release a factor in the eye that stimulates the growth of new blood vessels. These new vessels, however, are more fragile than the original ones and likely to grow on the vitreous of the eye rather than on the retina. In everyone, the vitreous tends to pull away from the retina with age. The process advances more quickly in people with diabetes. When the vitreous pulls away, it can pull on these blood vessels, causing hemorrhaging or detachment of the retina. Surgery involves removing the vitreous, dissecting any scar tissue and reattaching the retina if necessary.”