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Diabetic Retinopathy

Although diabetes is a systemic disease, this disorder can cause eye problems in the natural lens, eye muscles, iris, retina, and other structures of the eye.  Diabetes causes progressive retinal changes due to the deterioration or damage of the small blood vessels which supply the eyes with oxygen and nourishment.

Signs and symptoms of diabetes include: increased thirst, frequent urination, weight loss, and lack of energy.  These typical symptoms of diabetes are often ignored or thought to be associated with other ailments.  As a result it may be years before the condition is diagnosed.  The longer a person is diabetic, the greater the risk of damage to the eyes.  If undetected, diabetes can lead to blindness.  Most patients with diabetes will experience some eye complication, but only a small percentage will develop severe vision loss when the disease is well-managed.

Damage to the small blood vessels is classified into two general categories: nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy and proliferative diabetic retinopathy.

In nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy, the retinal changes are ranked according to their severity and include microaneurysms (tiny outpouching of blood vessels), dot hemorrhages (pinpoint areas of bleeding in the retina), cotton-wool spots (areas of infarction or loss of blood flow to areas of the retina), venous beading (causing the normally smooth wall of the retinal blood vessels to look bumpy), and macular edema (swelling of the macula).  Macular edema is the most common cause of visual impairment in patients with diabetic retinopathy. Only a small part of the retina, the macula is responsible for our fine, central vision. If left untreated, many of these changes can cause irreversible damage to the eyes.  Close monitoring for changes is important.  Laser procedures can be performed to help keep vision from getting worse.

In proliferative diabetic retinopathy, new vessel begin to form in the retina.  This neovascularization is believed to be in response to the lack of oxygen.  The eye, in its own way, tries to reroute the blood flow.  These new vessels however are not “normal.” The vessels tend to be tiny and can grow in a haphazard pattern or break causing further problems from bleeding.  Laser treatment on the retina may help prevent further outbreak of new vessels, but the laser treatment for this type of retinopathy can be much more extensive and require several treatments.


At Baker Eye Institute in Conway, cataract surgery has benefited countless patients whose vision was fading, many who were nearly blind. Our experienced cataract surgeon, Dr. David Littleton Baker, can help reintroduce you to a world of clear vision. We are more than happy to answer any questions you may have about cataract surgery and the difference in IOLs.

If you live in the Conway or Little Rock, Arkansas region and would like further information about cataract surgery, schedule a vision consultation at Baker Eye Institute today. We pride ourselves on offering the latest advances in cataract surgery, including premium lens technology.


Providing excellence in eye care for over 18 years, Baker Eye Institute offers advanced treatment for medical and surgical diseases of the eye and eyelid. Dr. Baker helps restore the vision for patients throughout the state with an advanced no-stitch cataract surgery. You likely know someone who has already had the procedure done and is enjoying their renewed vision.


Schedule your eye care appointment with Baker Eye Institute by simply filling out our online form. For your convenience we have provided patient forms online so that you may print them and fill them out prior to your appointment.


Baker Eye Institute values the importance of vision. We have taken great length to provide our patients with Financing Options so that their vision doesn't become a burden to their lifestyle.