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Persons diagnosed with diabetes mellitus are at risk for developing diabetic retinopathy, a serious disorder affecting the retina in the eye. Damage to the retina over time can result in diminished vision and in some cases, either partial or total blindness. In the early stages, patients may be unaware of this disorder and may experience little or no noticeable loss of vision. A thorough, annual eye exam can detect the presence of this disorder and any changes to the retina.

There are two main types of diabetic retinopathy: background diabetic retinopathy and proliferative diabetic retinopathy. Proliferative diabetic retinopathy usually affects persons who have had diabetes for 25 years or more and is the more advanced stage of the disease. Background diabetic retinopathy is generally less serious, and in the beginning stages, may require no treatment. Persons with either form of diabetic retinopathy need to be carefully monitored by regular eye exams.

University Eye Surgeons uses two different systems for evaluation of diabetic retinopathy - the HRT retinal program and digital fluroscein angiography. Both systems provide images of the retina, which will detect any changes that may have occurred. A green laser is used to provide treatment for diabetic retinopathy.