Diabetic retinopathy is a diabetes-based complication that affects the human eyes. People with the condition experience mild visual problems. However, the condition could cause blindness when left untreated. Read on to learn more about diabetic retinopathy. Hopefully, it will increase your knowledge of the disease and help you seek early treatment.
What Causes Diabetic Retinopathy?
As the name suggests, diabetic retinopathy is caused by diabetes. High blood sugars in the human body can damage blood vessels in the eye's retina. This is the part that detects and receives light, converts the light into a neural signal, and sends it to the brain for identification.
Once the blood vessels rupture, the eye attempts to regrow new blood vessels that are weak and cannot withstand the blood pressure. These new vessels will constantly rupture, causing fluid accumulation in the eye. These fluids affect the functionality of the lens, thus causing visual problems. People with diabetic retinopathy can also experience other problems such as diabetic macular edema, neovascular glaucoma, or retinal detachment.
What Are the Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy?
People with diabetic retinopathy will experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Blurred vision
- Colour impairments
- Dark spots in the eye
- Visual problems such as the inability to read or see objects that are far away.
- People with the disease will often complain of floating spots or cobweb-like structures in their vision
What Are the Types of Diabetic Retinopathy?
There are two categories or stages of diabetic retinopathy. Early diabetic retinopathy, also known as non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy, occurs when the current blood vessels rapture but new ones do not grow. People with this condition will have small amounts of fluid in their retina caused by leaking blood vessels. Larger blood vessels dilate and become irregular in size.
Advanced diabetic retinopathy is a progression of early diabetic retinopathy. In this case, new blood vessels begin to grow and leak fluids into the centre of your eye. This accumulation of fluids might cause the retina to detach from the eye, thus causing glaucoma.
There is a wide range of treatments for diabetic retinopathy ranging from injections, laser treatments, and eye surgery. These treatments will not fully restore your vision. However, they will prevent escalation of the condition. The best way to deal with diabetic retinopathy is to prevention. If you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar to ensure it is at acceptable levels. Additionally, visit your optician for regular check-ups.
If you happen to be diagnosed with the condition. You must follow your doctor's instructions. Early treatment will help prevent the loss of your sight.