Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic Retinopathy is essentially damage to the retina of the eye. This occurs in patients who have been diagnosed with diabetes in the past and has some serious side effects. It can lead to problems with vision and in some extreme cases can even lead to blindness. It’s been estimated that more than 70% of patients diagnosed with diabetes with have vision problems after ten years.

Diabetic retinopathy often doesn’t have any symptoms or warning signs early on. At times the person may suffer from macular edema, which causes the vision to rapidly deteriorate in a short period of time. Others experiences problems with blurred vision where they see a halo around certain objects. The patient typically notices that they have problems driving or reading print even with eyeglasses. Many people notice that their vision worsens at night, while others claim they have the hardest problems seeing during the day, especially in bright sunlight.

There are also extreme cases where blood vessels in the eye begin to hemorrhage or bleed because of the diabetic retinopathy. The person will notice that they see spots in front of their eyes or spots that appear on the sides of their vision. These spots may appear to float or dance around and usually disappear and reappear throughout the day. The blood continues to leak out of the vessel, which leads to the person experiencing severe cases of blurred vision.

The condition arises as the result of changes happening inside the retina. As the membrane thickens, it causes damage to the retina and forms blood vessels along the edges. It’s especially prevalent in those who practice poor glucose control because as the blood sugar levels build up, it further impairs the blood vessels and can cause them to burst or bleed. It also deprives the retina of oxygen, which allows new blood vessels to develop.

The biggest risk factor associated with diabetic retinopathy is the length of time the individual has had diabetes. The longer they have the disease, the greater their chances are of developing the condition. Those taking more medication to control their diabetes and those who can’t control their blood sugar levels also have a greater chance of developing the problem.

The treatment of diabetic retinopathy is usually done through laser surgery. Another option is a vitrectomy and a third option is to inject triamcinolone into the eye, which is the top choice of doctors. Doctors also recommend that patients diagnosed with the condition stop smoking, which can cause hypertension and aggravate the condition. The eyes are then monitored closely to look for signs that the retinopathy is returning.

See the following links for more information on diabetic retinopathy:

Facts About Diabetic Retinopathy

Fact Sheet Diabetes and Eye Conditions

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic Retinopathy Definition and Symptoms

Diabetic Retinopathy

Retinopathy Background

What is Diabetic Retinopathy?

Eye Complications

Diabetic Retinopathy at Merck

Diabetic Retinopathy at Medline Plus

Diabetic Retinopathy at Senior Health

Diabetic Retinopathy at AOA

Diabetic Retinopathy at All About Vision

Diabetic Retinopathy at Mayo Clinic

Diabetic Retinopathy at Wikipedia

Diabetic Retinopathy at Eye Conditions

Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Program

National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse