What is Diabetic Retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy, also known as diabetic eye disease, is when damage occurs to the retina due to diabetes. It can eventually lead to blindness.
It is an ocular manifestation of diabetes, a systemic disease, which affects up to 80 percent of all patients who have had diabetes for 20 years or more.
The condition can develop in anyone who has type 1 or type 2 diabetes. The longer one has diabetes and the less controlled one’s blood sugar is the more likely one is to develop this eye complication.
There are two types of diabetic retinopathy:
- Early diabetic retinopathy
- Advanced diabetic retinopathy
Causes of Diabetic Retinopathy:
Over time, too much sugar in the blood can lead to the blockage of the tiny blood vessels that nourish the retina, cutting off its blood supply.
As a result, the eye attempts to grow new blood vessels. But these new blood vessels don’t develop properly and can leak easily, thereby causing blindness.
- Early diabetic retinopathy
In this type, the walls of the blood vessels in the retina weaken. Tiny bulges protrude from the vessel walls of the smaller vessels, sometimes leaking fluid and blood into the retina.
Larger retinal vessels can begin to dilate and become irregular in diameter, as well. NPDR can progress from mild to severe, as more blood vessels become blocked.
- Advanced retinopathy
In this type, damaged blood vessels close off, causing the growth of new, abnormal blood vessels in the retina, and can leak into the clear, jelly-like substance that fills the center of your eye.
Anyone who has diabetes can develop diabetic retinopathy.
Risk of developing the eye condition can increase as a result of:
- Duration of diabetes — the longer you have diabetes, the greater your risk of developing diabetic retinopathy
- Poor control of your blood sugar level
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Tobacco use
- Being black, Hispanic or Native American
Symptoms Of Diabetic Retinopathy:
Diabetic retinopathy often has no early warning signs.
In the first stage, which is called early diabetic retinopathy, there are no symptoms, the signs are not visible to the eye and patients will have 20/20 vision.
In the second stage, which is called advance diabetic retinopathy, the following symptoms are exhibited:
- Spots or dark strings floating in one’s vision (floaters)
- Blurred vision
- Fluctuating vision
- Impaired color vision
- Dark or empty areas in one’s vision
- Vision loss
Diagnosis of Diabetic Retinopathy:
Diabetic retinopathy is diagnosed via:
- Dilated eye exam
- Fluorescein angiography
- Optical coherence tomography
Treatment of diabetic retinopathy:
The following treatment options are available:
- Focal laser treatment
- Scatter laser treatment
- Light treatment
- intravitreal injections of anti-VEGFdrugs
- Panretinal photocoagulation
By : Natural Health News