Diabetic retinopathy is a disease occurring in persons with diabetes, which causes significant damage to the retina, the light sensitive lining at the back of the eye. It is a serious sight-threatening complication of diabetes.
Prolonged periods of high blood sugar levels cause damage to the small blood vessels in the retina at the back of the eye. The retina is the film at the back of the eye, which receives light images and sends them to your brain. A healthy retina is essential for good vision.
Most often, diabetic retinopathy has no symptoms until the damage to your eyes is severe.
Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy include:
- Blurred vision and slow vision loss over time
- Shadows or missing areas of vision
- Trouble seeing at night
Different types of diabetic retinopathy are:
- Non-proliferative retinopathy(NDPR):
This early stage of DR, identified by deposits forming in the retina can occur at any time after the onset of diabetes.Often no visual symptoms are present, but examination of the retina can reveal tiny dot and blot hemorrhages known as microaneurysms, which are a type of out-pouching of tiny blood vessels.
- Proliferative retinopathy:
Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) mainly occurs when many of the blood vessels in the retina close, preventing enough blood flow. In an attempt to supply blood to the area where the original vessels closed, the retina responds by growing new blood vessels. The new vessels are also often accompanied by scar tissue that may cause the retina to wrinkle or detach.
We recommend compulsory protective glasses for:
Treatment of diabetic retinopathy differs depending on the level of the disease. It may require laser surgery to seal leaking blood vessels or to discourage new leaky blood vessels from forming. Injections of medications into the eye may be needed to decrease inflammation or stop the formation of new blood vessels. In more advanced cases, a surgical procedure to remove and replace the gel-like fluid in the back of the eye, called the vitreous, and may be needed. A retinal detachment, defined as a separation of the light-receiving lining in the back of the eye, resulting from diabetic retinopathy, may also require surgical repair.
If you are a diabetic, you can help prevent or slow the development of diabetic retinopathy by taking your prescribed medication, sticking to your diet, exercising regularly, controlling high blood pressure and avoiding alcohol and smoking.