Diabetic retinopathy is an eye disease that only affects diabetics. It occurs when the fragile vascular network that supplies the retina – the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye that helps us see – begins to swell or leak. During the beginning stages of the disease, there may be no noticeable symptoms, so it’s important to have your eyes checked at least once a year if you have diabetes.
Too much blood sugar can cause blockages in the blood vessels that lead to the retina, eventually cutting off its blood supply. The eye will try to grow new blood vessels, which may not develop properly, and eventually leak fluid and / or bleed. This will lead to blurry vision at first, and untreated could eventually cause scarring, permanent eye damage, and vision loss.
Once symptoms of diabetic retinopathy do develop, they can include: dark or black spots in your visual field, or blurry vision, and it increases over time. This is a result of bleeding at the back of the eye, which prevents a clear image from being transmitted from the retina to the brain.
Whether you have type 1, type 2, or even just gestational diabetes, you are at risk for developing diabetic retinopathy. The longer you have had the disease, the greater the risk. It is essential to keep your blood sugar levels under control to prevent vision loss, and this may require a trip back to your primary care physician.
Anyone with diabetes is at risk for Diabetic retinopathy. The longer you have had diabetes, the greater your risk is. Poor management of your diabetes and lack of control of your blood sugar increases your risk for diabetic retinopathy. High blood pressure and high cholesterol can also make you more likely to develop diabetic retinopathy.
Of course, smokers are always at a higher risk for diabetic retinopathy, as well as additional eye conditions. So if you are a diabetic, it is important to quit smoking.
Treating diabetic retinopathy can include vitrectomy, replacing the inner gel-like substance that supports the eyeball structure, and laser surgery.
Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide, for informational material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit the EyeGlass Guide today!
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