What is Diabetic Retinopathy – A Detailed Overview

Posted on: Aug. 17, 2018, 1:08 p.m.

People with diabetes can also suffer from eye disease also known as Diabetic Retinopathy. The condition can develop in anyone who has type 1 or type 2 diabetes. The longer you have diabetes and the less controlled your blood sugar is, there are more chances that you might develop eye complication.

This high blood sugar level cause damage to blood vessels in the retina. These blood vessels can swell and leak. They can also close and stop blood from passing through. Sometimes abnormal new blood vessels also grow on the retina. All these changes eventually can cause blindness.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Careful management of diabetes is the best way to prevent vision loss. If you have diabetes, it is also recommended to find experienced ophthalmologists for eye care and get your yearly eye exam done. If you're pregnant, and suffering from diabetes, your doctor might ask you to undergo few additional eye exams so that the diabetic retinopathy does not worsen.

Stages of Diabetic Eye Disease

There are two main stages of diabetic eye diseases: NPDR (non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy) and PDR (proliferative diabetic retinopathy).

NPDR – Non-Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy – Many people with diabetes suffer from this early stage of diabetic eye disease. People suffering from NDPR will find that the tiny blood vessels in there are leaking, making the retina swell. When the macula swells, it is known as macular edema. This is the most common reason why people with diabetes lose their vision.

With NDPR, when blood vessels in the retina close off, it is known as macular ischemia. When this problem occurs, the blood is not able to reach macula. Sometimes tiny particles called exudate can form in the retina. These can affect your vision too. If you have NPDR, your vision will be blurry.

PDR – Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy – There are other diabetic patients who suffer from this advanced stage of diabetic eye disease. This situation occurs when the retina starts growing new blood vessels. This problem is also known as neovascularization. The fragile new vessels often bleed into the vitreous.

When these fragile new vessels bleed very less or a little, you might see few dark floaters. And if they bleed a lot, then it might block all vision. These new blood vessels can form a scar tissue. Scar tissue can further lead to the problem with the macula or lead to a detached retina. PDR is very serious and can steal both your central and peripheral (side) vision.

Prevention of Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic Retinopathy can't always be prevented. Therefore, it is always recommended to undergo regular eye exams, keep track and control of your blood sugar and blood pressure. The early intervention for diabetic retinopathy can help prevent severe vision loss.

Manage your diabetes, monitor your blood sugar level, keep your blood pressure and cholesterol under control, pay attention to your vision problems – these are some of the preventive measures you can take to avoid diabetic retinopathy from causing severe eye vision issues. If you smoke or use other types of tobacco, find experienced ophthalmologists for eye care who can help you manage diabetic retinopathy.