Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic Retinopathy

In the advanced stages
connective scar tissue forms in association with new blood vessel growth
causing additional distortion and blurriness.
Diabetes is a condition that can interfere with the body’s ability to use and store sugar. Diabetes can also
over time
weaken and cause changes in the small blood vessels that nourish the eye’s light sensitive retina. When this occurs
it is called diabetic retinopathy. These changes may include leaking of blood
development of newly formed fragile vessels and enlargement of certain parts of the vessels. Diabetic retinopathy can seriously affect vision and
if left untreated
cause blindness.

Since this disease can cause blindness
early diagnosis and treatment is essential. That’s one reason why it is important to have your eyes examined periodically
especially if you are a diabetic or if you have a family history of diabetes. During a thorough
comprehensive eye examination
your optometrist gets to know you
your family history
your lifestyle and your vision needs. To detect diabetic retinopathy
your doctor can look inside your eyes with an instrument called an ophthalmoscope
which lights and magnifies the blood vessels in your eyes.

The beginning stages of diabetic retinopathy may cause blurriness in your central or peripheral (side) vision
or it may produce no visual symptoms at all. Symptoms depend on where the blood vessel changes are taking place in your eye’s retina (the light sensitive tissue at the back of the eye where images are focused). As diabetic retinopathy progresses
you may notice a cloudiness in your vision
blind spots or floaters. This is usually caused by blood leaking from abnormal new vessels which blocks light from reaching the retina.

In the advanced stages
connective scar tissue forms in association with new blood vessel growth
causing additional distortion and blurriness. Over time
this tissue can shrink and detach the retina by pulling it toward the center of the eye.

Once diabetic retinopathy has been diagnosed
laser and other surgical treatments can be used to reduce the progression of this eye disease and decrease the risk of vision loss. If you experience vision loss due to diabetic retinopathy
special low vision aids can help maximize your remaining vision. Some of the optical aids available include telescopic lenses for distance vision
microscopic lenses
magnifying glasses and electronic magnifiers for close work.

Not every diabetic patient develops retinopathy
but the chances of getting it do increase after having diabetes for several years. Evidence also suggests that such factors as pregnancy
high blood pressure and smoking may cause diabetic eye disease to develop or worsen. As a diabetic
or person at risk
it is important that you take steps to help prevent the development of diabetic retinopathy

  • Take your prescribed medication as instructed
  • Follow a proper diet
  • Exercise regularly
  • Have your eyes examined regularly

By doing so
chances are good that you can enjoy a lifetime of good vision and health.

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