In This Section

If you have diabetes, it's important to have your eyes checked regularly. High blood sugar can weaken and damage the tiny blood vessels in your eye, which can lead to diabetic retinopathy. When left untreated, the condition can cause vision loss.

Diabetic retinopathy doesn’t have symptoms in the early stages. Regular screenings can help catch the disease before it leads to serious complications. At University of Missouri Health Care’s Mason Eye Institute, our eye care specialists (ophthalmologists) specialize in diagnosing and treating diabetic retinopathy. Our ophthalmologists work together with your primary care doctor or endocrinologist to offer you complete care.

We can help prevent the disease and protect your eyesight.

Complete care for diabetic retinopathy

Our ophthalmologists use sophisticated eye exams to diagnose diabetic retinopathy, including fluorescein angiography intravenous fluorescien angiography (IVFA) and optical coherence tomography (OCT). We design a personalized treatment plan to improve your health and stop the progression of the disease.

As providers at an academic health center, our doctors from various specialties work together to offer you the highest level of care. Your ophthalmologist works with your primary care doctor, dietitians, diabetes specialists and other experts to provide complete care. This allows us to take care of all your health needs.

Our ophthalmologists are also educators and researchers, so you can be confident your doctor is knowledgeable about the latest techniques and therapies. Our advanced capabilities and experience allow you to get some of the most innovative treatments in the region, including promising new treatments through clinical trials.

At MU Health Care, you can count on expert care and a full range of treatments, including personalized consultations with low-vision specialists. You’ll get expert advice and solutions to overcome vision challenges and enjoy greater independence.

Preventive care for eyes

When you control your risk factors — such as poor blood-sugar management, smoking, obesity, and high blood pressure and cholesterol — you can prevent vision loss. Your ophthalmologist will work with a dietitian and your primary doctor to help you control your diabetes and improve your health to prevent eye damage.

Medicine to improve eye health

Our ophthalmologists use the latest medicines to improve the health and function of the blood vessels that supply blood to your retina, the light-detecting part of your eye. These medications reduce swelling of the macula, a part of the retina that controls your eyes’ ability to see objects directly in front of you. Medicines include:

  • Anti-VEGF medicines, which can slow the growth of new blood vessels that can damage the retina
  • Steroid medicines, which reduce swelling

Laser treatment

Your ophthalmologist may use laser surgery to seal off leaking blood vessels, which can reduce swelling of your retina. Laser treatment can also shrink blood vessels and prevent abnormal growth. MU Health Care has the most advanced laser surgery technology, which gives your ophthalmologist greater precision during surgery.

Vitrectomy

For more advanced diabetic retinopathy, your doctor may perform surgery to remove blood and fluid leaking from the vessels in the back of your eye — and sometimes scar tissue on the retina — to allow your retina to focus properly again.

If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy or know someone who has, our eye care specialists can help. Getting prompt treatment can help preserve your eyesight.