Preserve Your Vision With Birch Lake Eye Clinic

Diabetic Retinopathy in White Bear Lake

Preserve Your Vision With Birch Lake Eye Clinic

Schedule Eye Exam

Have diabetes?

Experiencing changes in vision, such as blurriness and eye floaters?

Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is one of the leading causes of vision loss around the world. Of an estimated 285 million people with diabetes mellitus worldwide, approximately one-third have signs of diabetic retinopathy.

Fortunately, there are several steps people with diabetes can take to prevent or minimize vision loss.

Blood sugar level check


What Is Diabetic Retinopathy?

noraml eye and an eye with  diabetic retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is an eye disease caused by high blood sugar levels that damage the small blood vessels clustered within your retina. This leads to swelling or fluid leakage and can result in vision loss and even blindness.

Diabetic retinopathy also raises the risk of retinal detachment and/or glaucoma.

Because the early stages of diabetic retinopathy show no symptoms, many don't realize they have it until the disease has progressed.

If you have diabetes, you are at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. To reduce your risk and protect your vision, schedule an eye exam with Birch Lake Eye Clinic today.


What Are the Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy?

diabetic-retinopothy-oct-scan

As mentioned above, the early phase of diabetic retinopathy typically shows no symptoms. This is why it's important to have routine eye exams (all the more so if you have diabetes), as your eye doctor can detect diabetic retinopathy in its earlier stages before symptoms become apparent.

Symptoms of proliferative diabetic retinopathy include:
  • Blurred vision
  • Floaters
  • Double vision
  • Near vision problems
  • Seeing dark spots (scotomas)
  • Difficulty seeing at night

What are the Stages of Diabetic Retinopathy?

Non-Proliferative Retinopathy (early stage):
This occurs when small bulges–or microaneurysms–form in blood vessels and can leak fluid into the retina.

Proliferative Retinopathy (later phase):
This refers to abnormal vessel growth and leakage in the retina. This triggers a variety of vision problems such as blurriness, reduced field of vision, and even blindness.

If you have diabetes, Birch Lake Eye Clinic in White Bear Lake offers diagnostic tests and treatment options to help preserve your vision. The earlier the diagnosis, the better the treatment outcome.

Diabetic-Retinopathy-Bllod-sugar-level-checker


How Optometrists Diagnose Diabetic Retinopathy

  • Medical history

    Your optometrist will ask about your medical history, including diabetes, as well as your family history of eye conditions.

  • Dilated pupil exam

    Your optometrist will apply eye drops to dilate the pupils so they can see inside the eye and detect any issues.

  • Fluorescein angiography

    This eye test uses a special dye and camera to look at blood flow in the retina and choroid.

  • Optical coherence tomography

    This imaging method shows a cross-section of the retina and can indicate whether vessels are leaking fluid into the retina.


How to Treat Diabetic Retinopathy

senior man with diabetic retinopathy

Treatment begins with managing blood sugar levels and diabetes. This means eating a healthy diet, increasing physical activity, and taking whatever diabetes medication has been prescribed.

Other treatments will depend on the stage or severity of the disease. If caught early, only blood sugar management may be necessary.

However, if you're in a more advanced stage of the diseases, treatment options may include:
  • Eye medications. Steroid and Anti-VEGF treatments can stop inflammation and prevent the formation of new blood vessels.
  • Laser surgery. Reduces the proliferation of abnormal blood vessels and swelling in the retina.
  • Vitrectomy. If you have proliferative diabetic retinopathy, you may need an eye surgery called vitrectomy. This procedure removes scar tissue, blood or fluid, and some of the vitreous gel so light rays can better focus on the retina.

Give Your Eyes the Care They Deserve

Diabetic Retinopathy FAQs

What are the major risk factors for diabetic retinopathy?

As the name suggests, diabetes is the main risk factor for developing diabetic retinopathy. Be mindful of your family history of type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, get an annual eye exam to detect potential problems early.

Other conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol are also risk factors. Moreover, those of African or Hispanic descent have a higher risk of developing diabetic retinopathy.

Can diabetic retinopathy be prevented?

There are a number of ways to preserve your vision and reduce the risk of vision and eye damage due to diabetic retinopathy.

  • Visit your eye doctor for annual eye exams.
  • Control your blood sugar levels.
  • Maintain healthy cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Quit smoking.

The best thing you can do right now is to schedule your eye exam with Birch Lake Eye Clinic in White Bear Lake to ensure that everything is in check.

Does diabetic retinopathy cause blindness?

Diabetic retinopathy is one of the main causes of blindness among work-aged adults. It affects one in three people with diabetes and often goes unnoticed at first. Diagnosing and treating the condition early on can prevent severe vision loss.

Patient Reviews
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422 Reviews
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- Jun. 12, 2024
Everyone is amazing, They were quick with getting me in for a emergency with my vision. The staff wa... s very kind and empathic to my concerns. The providers are also Great. Making sure they are quick but there to answer all the question you have. They also do a great job of recommending other providers for services that they don't do in their clinic. I go to both Blaine and White Bear Lake Locations. Both Clinics have wonderful staff and providers.
- Jun. 09, 2024
Wonderful experience for my son, very welcoming
- Jun. 05, 2024
A very friendly and knowledgeable staff that will greet you with a smile!! I have been getting my g... lasses from for years and will continue to use them for all my future eyewear needs!! Highly recommend!!!
- May. 15, 2024
Have been going to Birch Lake Eye Clinic And Optical for years and will continue to do so. The eye ... exam is thorough and great eyewear selection! Thank you so much!!
- May. 15, 2024
First time at this clinic, wonderful staff and great clinic. Everything was clean and professional! ... Would recommend this to anyone in the area!
- Apr. 29, 2024
Everyone at this office is so friendly and fun! I had to bring my 3.5 month old and they made me fee... l so comfy doing that. Great experience. Got glasses back quick!
- Apr. 07, 2024
Very friendly and efficient staff and Doctor. Did not have to wait to get checked in and waited les... s than 5 mn to get into appointment. Doctor and staff took time to listen to my concerns. Everyone here is very professional and the offices are very nice and clean. Positive experience.
- Mar. 12, 2024
If you are looking for an eye clinic do check out Birch Lake Eye Clinic and Optical. Dr. Lucas is v... ery kind and knowledgeable and takes the time to explain things and all the staff are exceptionally friendly and helpful.
- Feb. 21, 2024
My entire family came here for our eye care. The Dr and staff were very friendly, patient and consid... erate when it came to our different vision needs and the special care we all needed. We are very satisfied with the service and our glasses we received. Thank you for your professionalism, patience, kindness, curtesy, expertise, experience, knowledge and skills. Your service was exceptional and I highly recommend your office to all my friends and family and to anyone looking for good service.
- Jan. 23, 2024
The clinic and staff are a blessing in my life and have turned a "have to do" chore into a "looking ... forward to going in" positive experience. It is wonderful to see them . . . in more ways than one!
- Jan. 13, 2024
Everyone was friendly, caring, and competent.
- Jan. 05, 2024
Professional, knowledgeable and excellent choice of frames.
- Dec. 30, 2023
Dr. Lucas are excellent . They are skilled, work well with their clients and are highly recommended... . I would recommend them to everyone.
- Dec. 29, 2023
As a new patient in serious need of an appointment the front desk staff of the Birch Lake Eye Clinic... worked quickly to find me an appointment as soon as possible. Dr Lucas and his assistant were great and very informative. I felt very at ease in this clinic and will return.
- Dec. 22, 2023
So much positive about your staff! I wish I knew all their names. My first contact was Mark on the... phone. So patient, kind and understanding. The receptionist was amazing. I think she could read my anxiety. The eye technician to the doctor simple the best. But they captured my heart when my temporary (trial lens) ripped the night before my flight to visit my daughter. I went into the clinic and most fabulous (so sorry I cannot remember her name) went the extra mile and got the lens I needed. From another location driven to me by an employee. She also researched my insurance policy and found coverage for a pair of glasses. Helped me pick out a frame. My anxiety was at a 10 plus. She was so calming and made me feel I was important. ❤️
- Dec. 17, 2023
Dr. Brad Schwantke is an amazing eye doctor. He’s kind and friendly and knowledgeable. He instantl... y put me at ease and answered all of my questions. He made going to the eye doctor very pleasant. I will definitely be back. As a nurse, I’ve met a lot of doctors, and he is in my top 10.
- Dec. 14, 2023
This place is the best! They genuinely care. They got me in immediately with my concerns of a floate... r and flashes of light in my right eye. The doctor was so kind and also extremely knowledgeable and very easy to talk to. Everyone there is so nice and also professional. I also got glasses there a few months ago and they're perfect! I highly recommend them!
- Dec. 14, 2023
Professional, knowledgeable courteous
- Dec. 08, 2023
Fast and informative customer service. Would highly recommend to anyone. Super friendly staff.
- Dec. 07, 2023
Always great personalized service and care from Dr. Schwanke.

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Diabetic Retinopathy Diagnosis & Treatment in White Bear Lake

Our optometry practice in White Bear Lake

Photograph of Brian  Grudem
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  • Monday 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Tuesday 9:00 am - 6:00 pm
  • Wednesday 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Thursday 9:00 am - 6:00 pm
  • Friday 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Saturday Closed
  • Sunday Closed
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blood sugaer level testing kit

Have diabetes?

Early detection and timely treatment can prevent vision loss.

Schedule Eye Exam