Find Orlando Family Magazine on Facebook! Follow Orlando Family Magazine on Twitter!

The Eye Doctor is In

The multi-location Florida Retina Institute welcomed Nisarg P. Joshi, MD, this past September, and he’s already helping patients navigate and manage their diabetic retinopathy.

When Nisarg P. Joshi, MD, joined the Florida Retina Institute (FRI) last month, he was drawn to its proven track record for being among The Sunshine State’s leading retina experts—as well as a harmony of mutually held ideals.

“One of the reasons I was attracted to Florida Retina Institute is because they are the premier retina group in the Greater Orlando and Jacksonville region,” the ophthalmologist says. “One of the values that the group and I share is to provide high-quality care to every patient, which. When a patient goes to see a physician, they are being vulnerable and may be nervous or afraid. That is why it is so important to provide empathetic care.”

That, combined with both a high standard for excellence and FRI’s lived-in mission to deliver personalized, effective treatment to every patient, made joining the multi-location team an easy choice for Dr. Joshi. 

Among the areas of expertise Dr. Joshi adds to FRI’s already impressive roster of medical talent is his focus on diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic patients are at particular risk for it since diabetes can harm the small blood vessels in the tissues at the back of the eye, where the retina is located. 

“Diabetes can cause damage to the retina and lead to vision loss, which can possibly be permanent,” Dr. Joshi explains. “The longer you have diabetes and the more uncontrolled the diabetes is, the more likely you are to develop diabetic retinopathy. Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics can develop diabetic retinopathy 

Monitoring at-risk patients’ potential for developing diabetic retinopathy takes a combination of regular exams, speaking with the other medical professionals treating them and staying ahead of the disease’s telltale signs. 

“The common symptoms include blurred vision and floaters which result from swelling in the eye—or what we call diabetic macular edema—and bleeding inside the eye,” explains Dr. Joshi. “Sometimes, the diabetes can cause lack of blood flow to the eye, and that can also lead to vision loss. If the diabetic retinopathy is very severe, you can have abnormal blood vessels forming, which can cause scar tissue, permanent blindness, and glaucoma.”

There are even instances when, since the eyes so often tell the story of what’s happening in the entirety of a patient’s body, an ophthalmologist is the one diagnosing diabetes and directing their patient to seek diagnostic measures. 

“Many times, we’ve had patients who don’t have a diagnosis of diabetes, and then we’ll examine them and see the diabetic changes in their eyes,” observes Dr. Joshi. “We then refer them to their primary care doctor, who does the testing and determines they have diabetes.”

He adds that diabetic retinopathy is far from an inevitable side effect from either type of diabetes, but can be managed after its onset—or possibly avoided altogether, if care is not delayed.

“I always tell patients that it’s very important to control their blood sugar,” Dr. Joshi begins. “The more the blood sugars are controlled and the diabetes is controlled, the less likely you are to develop diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy can also improve as your overall diabetes improves.”

And while “the most important thing is to control the diabetes,” Dr. Joshi notes that the second-most important thing is to keep up with regular eye exams, which can lead to finding the highly individualized treatments that minimize the disease’s progression.

“We can offer intravitreal injections, or injections in the eye, which may help improve the vision or may help slow down the damage that can happen with the diabetic retinopathy,” he adds. “There’s also an option of laser treatment, which we can offer to the appropriate patients to decrease the risk of vision loss.” 

Fortunately, trusting the FRI team with your eye care provides access to world-class retina specialists right in our own backyard, thanks to its conveniently situated 19 locations making it easy to proactively manage and monitor a disease that doesn’t have to be debilitating or compromise one’s quality of life. 

“Diabetic retinopathy is not inevitable,” Dr. Joshi says. “But patients can have an increasingly severe disease without having any vision issues to the point where there’s permanent damage to the eye, but the patient doesn’t realize it because their vision hasn’t been affected. That’s why it’s so important to see an ophthalmologist or a retina specialist for monitoring at least once a year or more frequently depending on how severe the disease is.”

Florida Retina Institute
Multiple locations in Central Florida including Orlando, Kissimmee, Lake Mary and Clermont
(877) 357-3846