Diabetic Retinopathy: Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes, caused by high blood sugar levels damaging the retina of the eye and is a leading cause of blindness. It affects up to 80 percent of people who have had diabetes for 20 years or more. It is also the leading cause of blindness for people aged 20 to 64 years.
Diabetic retinopathy includes 3 different types:
• Diabetic Maculopathy
• Background Retinopathy
• Proliferative Retinopathy
Causes of Diabetic Retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy is an eye disease caused by complications of diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy is caused by prolonged high blood glucose levels. Over time, high sugar glucose levels can damage the small blood vessels in the retina that nourish the retina.
Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy
The early stages of diabetic retinopathy may occur without symptoms and without pain. You won’t usually notice diabetic retinopathy in the early stages, An actual influence on the vision will not occur until the disease advances.
However, early signs of the condition can be taking photographs of the eyes during diabetic eye screening.
Symptoms may only prominent once the disease progress, common symptoms of retinopathy combine:
• Gradually worsening vision
• Sudden changes in vision / blurred vision
• Sudden vision loss
• Shapes floating in your eyes (floaters)
• Double vision
• Impaired color vision
• Eye pain or redness
• Diabetic retinopathy usually affects both eyes.
Preventing Diabetic Retinopathy
Long-term good blood glucose level management helps to prevent diabetic retinopathy. Strategies for preventing diabetic retinopathy include:
• Control of blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol through medicine, insulin, diet, and exercise
• Test urine for ketone levels regularly
• Everyone with diabetes who is 12 ages or over is suggested for eye screening once a year.
Diagnosis of Diabetic Retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy is adequately diagnosed with a dilated eye exam. For this exam, drops placed in your eyes widen your pupils to enable your physician to better view inside your eyes.
During the exam, your eye surgeon will examine:
• Swelling, blood or fatty deposits in the retina
• Abnormal blood vessels
• Growth of new blood vessels and scar tissue
• Retinal detachment
• Test your eyesight
• Anomalies in your optic nerve
• Measure your eye pressure to test for glaucoma
• Look for confirmation of cataracts
Other Examinations include
• Ophthalmoscopy or fundus photography
• Fundus Fluorescein angiography (FFA)
• Optical coherence tomography (OCT)
Treatments for Diabetic Retinopathy
Laser surgery is usually used in the treatment of diabetic retinopathy, but each stage of diabetic retinopathy can be managed in a different way.
Background retinopathy has no treatment but patients will require regular eye examinations.
Maculopathy is ordinarily treated with laser treatment.
The other main treatments for more advanced diabetic retinopathy are:
• Injections of medication within your eyes
• An operation to remove blood or scar tissue of your eyes