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The Center for Diabetic Retinopathy at NRI brings our unique multi-disciplinary approach to the diagnosis and treatment of this disease that is now reaching epidemic proportions in the United States. Diabetes causes weakening to the blood vessels that nourish the retina. Good control of blood glucose will reduce the risk of diabetic retinopathy, however it does not prevent it entirely. Early detection and treatment of retinopathy is crucial to our ability to prevent vision loss in diabetics. The Center for Diabetic Retinopathy has the most advanced technology that permits maximized care with the aim of maintaining the best vision possible in each of our patients with diabetes. If we wait for vision to decline prior to treatment then the ability to maximize vision is reduced.
New techniques being implemented at the Center for Diabetic Retinopathy include improved computerized imaging of the blood vessels of the retina to detect the earliest evidence of weakening of these blood vessels. New imaging equipment can also evaluate the structure of the retina so that precisely targeted intervention can take place using a tiny laser beam. Steroids injected in or around the eye can also reduce the swelling of the retina caused by leaking blood vessels. NRI is at the forefront in conducting clinical trials of a new generation of drugs that are now coming on line and are expected to be more effective in certain situations.
Some of these drugs, such as Lucentis®, Avastin® and Macugen®, are known as anti-VEGF medications and act to decrease or eliminate the growth of abnormal blood vessels which are responsible for retina damage in wet AMD as well as diabetic retinopathy. Physicians at NRI are participating in ongoing research to find new targets for drugs in the fight against wet age related macular degeneration.
The exciting new field of proteomics also offers promise in combating the effects of macular degeneration. By detecting the proteins that change the cellular growth of the disease, researchers believe that a more "individualized" treatment plan can be instituted that will result in a targeted, more effective, treatment plan for each patient. NRI physicians are at the forefront of this cutting edge biotechnology that holds great promise for the future.
Our Vision Rehabilitation Program has world leaders in occupational and rehabilitation ophthalmology working to bring the latest technology to our patients. In addition, they are involved in ground breaking research designed to develop new and more effective methods for our patients to improve on their vision.
While there is yet no "cure" for diabetes and diabetic retinopathy, each day, NRI doctors are becoming more successful at employing advanced imaging, as well as laser and drug therapies, to greatly reduce the vision loss accompanying the disease.