Diabetic retinopathy is a condition caused by high levels of blood sugar, which can cause blindness incurable.
In the early stages of diabetic retinopathy (called non-proliferative), it makes blood vessels gets fluid, which disrupts the eyes. In more advanced stages of diabetic retinopathy (proliferative)appears fragility of blood vessels around the retina and vitreous humor (light bulking agent the eye). Untreated blood vessels may begin to bleed clouding of vision or scarring in the retina detachment.
The cause of diabetic retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy affects the eyes of people with diabetes who suffer from both high blood pressure and elevated levels of glucose for an extended period. The excess of sugar in the blood may result in damage to the blood vessels at the back of the eye, which makes the retina does not obtain sufficient amounts of nutrients to maintain viability.
Any person with diabetes (both type I and II), is exposed to the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. Regardless of the kind of diabetes, fluctuations in blood glucose levels can be controlled, which allows reducing the risk of diseases.
The untreated disease causes the formation of scar tissue that forms the rear part of the retina of the eye by contraction of new blood vessels. This, in turn, results in their removal from the back of the eye. Such a retinal detachment can cause permanent loss of vision.
The disease can also cause macular edema, which is the inner portion of the retina that allows a detailed view. When the fluid from the blood vessels under the macula leaks, it can swell, which results in blurring of vision.
The symptoms of diabetic retinopathy
Very often, there are no early signs of retinopathy, because vision problems might appearing suddenly and are already advanced. Sometimes, there is a loss of central vision when reading or driving a car. They may seem then:
- loss of color vision,
- the blurring of vision,
- small dots or cloudiness, which may indicate leakage of blood vessels.
If any of the symptoms appears more often, more than once, it is worthwhile to make the vision test, which will prevent further disease progression.
Diagnosis is possible during the detailed ophthalmological examination. Following the enlargement of eye relief, the doctor can assess changes in the blood vessels, the growth of blood vessels, retinal edema, and retinal detachment.
In most cases, the laser treatment requires surgery, which avoids excessive loss of vision associated with retinopathy. Laser photocoagulation allows seal blood vessels, but also removes the scars and leaky blood vessels of the retina. Although this procedure is not painful, it can impair night vision and the ability to see colors.
Another method is laser vitrectomy, which can remove the leaks from blood vessels, getting into the vitreous, causing clouding vision.
Early diagnosed disease allows avoiding blindness. It can be prevented through regular eye checks – especially in pregnant women with diabetes. Also, it is important to maintain an optimal level of blood sugar.