Diabetic Retinopathy

A complication of diabetes, diabetic retinopathy is caused by damage to the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye, or the retina. It is a chronic condition that slowly gets worse with time. First signs only include mild vision problems, but it can eventually cause blindness.

Both type 1 and type 2 diabetics are at risk of developing this condition. It typically occurs in those who have poorly controlled their blood sugar over long periods of time. Symptoms usually include spotty or blurred vision, impaired color vision, and complete vision loss. Both eyes are typically affected, as the extra sugar in your blood sugar leads to the blockage of the blood vessels that feed to the retina. As the blood vessels lose nourishment, the eye attempts to grow new blood vessels, which don’t develop correctly, and tend to leak.

The more common form of diabetic retinopathy is nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy, or NPDR. In this instance, the weakened walls of the retina experience bulges caused by leaked fluids and blood. This causes nerve fibers to swell and bring about more severity. Advanced diabetic retinopathy is the advanced stage of NPDR that sees the new blood vessels begin to form and leak, causing the eye to try to save itself. Scar tissue begins to form and may cause the retina to detach from the back of the eye, causing pressure, and eventually resulting in glaucoma.

Treatment of diabetic retinopathy depends on the stage of the condition. Early stages do not require immediate treatment, but rather to be closely monitored by a doctor. Controlling blood glucose levels can also slow the progression. For advanced stages, laser treatments or other surgeries may be required.

If you are dealing with diabetic retinopathy, contact Southwest Eyecare today!


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