At first, diabetic retinopathy may have no symptoms or only mild vision problems. Eventually, it can cause blindness.
The condition can form in anyone who has type one or type two diabetes. The longer you have diabetes, and the less controlled your blood sugar is, the higher the likelihood you are to develop this eye complication.
You may not have symptoms in the early stages of diabetic retinopathy. However, when the condition progresses, diabetic retinopathy symptoms may include the following:
- Blurred vision
- Fluctuating Vision
- Impaired color vision
- Vision Loss
- Dark or empty areas in you vision
- Spots or dark lines floating in your vision (floaters
- Diabetic retinopathy usually affects both eyes.
When Should you See Your Doctor
Careful Manage not of your diabetes is the best way to prevent vision loss. If you have diabetes, see your eye doctor for a yearly eye exam with dilation – even if your vision appears fine to you.
Pregnancy may worsen diabetic retinopathy, so if you are pregnant, your eye doctor may recommend additional eye exams throughout your pregnancy.
Talk to your doctor promptly if you notice sudden changes that become blurry, spotty or hazy
Causes of diabetic retinopathy
Over time, too much surge in your blood can lead to blockage of tiny blood vessels that nourish the retina is cutting off the blood supply. As a result, the eye attempts to grow new blood vessels, But these new blood vessels do not develop properly and can leak easily.
There are two types of diabetic retinopathy.
Early Diabetic retinopathy. In the more common form called nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR) in which new blood vessels are not growing,
In NPDR, the wall of the blood vessels in the retina becomes weeks. Tiny bulges or buildup (microaneurysms) protrude from the vessel walls of the smaller blood vessels sometimes leaking fluid and blood into the retina. Larger retinal vessels can start to dilate and develop into irregular dimensions, as well. NPDR can progress from mild to severe, as more blood vessels home inhibited.
Nerve fibers in the retina can start to swell. Occasionally the central portion of the retina (macula) starts to swell ( macular edema) a condition that requires treatment.
Advance diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy can advance to this more serious kind, known as proliferative diabetic retinopathy, in this type, damage blood vessels close off, prompting the growth of new, abnormal blood vessels in the retina, and can drip into the clear, jelly-like matter that fills the middle of the eye (vitreous)
Over time, scar tissue stimulated by the growth fo new blood vessels may create a detachment in the retina from the back of your eye. If the new blood vessels interfere with the normal flow of fluid out of the eye, tension may build up in the eyeball. This can break the nerve that carries images from your eye to the brain (optic nerve) ending in glaucoma.
Anyone who has diabetes can form diabetic retinopathy. Risk fo developing the eye condition can increase as a result of the following:
The duration of diabetes- the longer you have diabetes, the greater your danger of developing diabetic retinopathy becomes.
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Tobacco Use
- Being Native American Black or Hispanic
- Poor Control of your Blood Sugar Levels
Diabetic retinopathy includes the abnormal growth of blood vessels in the retina. Complications can lead to serious vision problems.
Vitreous hemorrhaging. The new blood vessels may ooze into the clear, gelatin-like matter that fills the center of the eye. If the amount of bleeding is minor, you ma see a few dark spots which are called floaters. In more severe cases, blood can overflow the vitreous cavity and completely block your vision.
Vitreous hemorrhage by itself usually does not cause permit vision loss. The blood often absolves from the eye within a few weeks or months. However, if your retina is damaged, it may not return to its previous vision level.
Retinal Detachment – The abnormal blood vessels linked with diabetic retinopathy trigger the development of scar tissue which can uproot the retina away from the back of the eye. This may cause spots floating in your vision, rays of light or serious vision loss.
Glaucoma, new blood vessels can accumulate in the front part of your eye and interfere with the normal flow of fluid out fo the eye, causing pressure in the eye to build up (glaucoma), This force can damage the nerve that carries images to the brain via the optic nerve.
Blindness – Over time, diabetic retinopathy glaucoma or both can lead to complete vision loss.
Test and Diagnosis
Diabetic retinopathy is adequately diagnosed with a dilated eye exam. For this review, drops placed in your eyes will expand or dilate your pupils to allow your doctor to better view within your eyes. The drop may cause your close vision to blur until they wear off several hours later.
During the eye exam your doctor will look for:
- Abnormal blood vessels.
- Swelling, blood or fat deposits in the retina
- Bleeding in the clear, jelly-like material that fills the center of the eye.
- Retinal detachment
- Abnormalities in your optic nerve
- Germination and an increase of new blood vessels and scar tissue
Also, your eye doctor may:
- Measure your eye pressure to test for glaucoma
- Look for evidence of cataracts
- Test your vision.
With your eyes dilated. Your doctor takes photographs of the inside of your eyes. Then your doctor will inject a special dye into your arm and take more pictures as the dye circulates through your eyes. Your doctor can use the images to point to where blood vessels are leaking fluid, closed or broken down.
Optical Coherence tomography.
Your eye doctor may request and optical coherence tomography (OCT) exam. This imaging test provides cross-sectional images of the retina that show the thickness of the retina, which will help determine where fluid has leaked into retinal tissue, Later OCT exams can be used to monitor how treat is working.
Treatment and Medication
Treatment depends principally on the type of diabetic retinopathy you have and level of severity. Treatment is geared to stopping or slowing the progression of the condition.
Early diabetic retinopathy
If you have mild or moderate non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy, your may not need treatment right away. However, your eye doctor will closely observe your eyes to determine when you may need treatment.
Work with your diabetes doctor (endocrinologist) to discover if there are ways to enhance your diabetes management. When diabetic retinopathy is mild or moderate, good blood sugar control can usually slow the advancement of the condition.
Advanced diabetic retinopathy
If you have proliferative diabetic retinopathy or macular edema, you will need prompt surgical treatment. Depending on the specific problems with your retina, options may include:
Focal laser treatment – is typically done in your doctor’s office or eye clinic in a single session. If you have blurred vision from macular edema ahead of surgery, the treatment might not return your vision to normal, but it is likely to reduce the chance the macular edema may deteriorate.
Scatter Laser treatment – This laser treatment, also identified as pan-retinal photocoagulation, can contract the abnormal blood vessels. During the procedure, the sections of the retina away from the macula are treated with diffuse laser burns. The burns cause the unusual new blood vessels to shrink and scar.
It is commonly performed in your doctor’s office or eye clinic in two or more sessions. Your vision will be hazy for about a day after the operation. Some loss of peripheral vision or night vision after the procedure is possible.
Vitrectomy, This surgical operation uses a tiny cut in your eye to withdraw the blood from the core of the eye (vitreous ) as well as scar tissue that is pulling on the retina. It is done in a surgery center or hospital using local or general anesthesia.
Surgery often slows or stops the progression of diabetic retinopathy, but it is not a cure. Because diabetes is a lifelong donation, future retinal damage and vision loss are still possible Even after treatment for diabetic retinopathy; you will need regular eye exams. AT some point, additional treatment may be recommended.
Today, researchers are studying new treatments for diabetic retinopathy including medications that may help inhibit abnormal blood vessels from appearing in the eye. Some of these medications are inserted directly into the eye to treat swelling and abdominal blood vessels. These treatments appear promising, but more research is required.
You can not always prevent diabetic retinopathy. However, regular eye exams, effective command of your blood sugar and blood pressure and early intervention for vision difficulties can help prevent severe vision loss.
IF you have diabetes, lessen your risk of regarding diabetic retinopathy by doing the following:
Manage your diabetes. Make healthy eating and physical activity part of your daily lifestyle. Try to get paletas 140 minutes of moderate aerobatic activity, such as walking, jogging each week. Tak oral diabetes medications or insulin as directed.
Monitor your blood sugar level. You may need to check and record your blood sugar levels several times a day – more – frequent measurements may be required if you are ill or under stress. AKs your doctor how often you need to test your blood sugar.
Ask your doctor about glycosylated hemoglobin test. The glycosylated hemoglobin test, or hemoglobin A1C test displays your average blood sugar level for the two – to three-month period before the test. For most people, the AIC goal is to be under 7 percent.
Keep your blood pressure and cholesterol under control. Consuming healthy foods, exercising often and consistently, and losing excess weight can help, Sometimes medication is needed as well.
If you smoke or use other types of tobacco, you should find a way to quite. Smoking increases your risk fo various diabetes complications, including diabetic retinopathy.
Pay attention to vision changes. Reach out to your eye doctor right away if your experience, sudden vision changes or your vision becomes blurry, hazy or spotty.
Diabetes does not necessarily lead to vision loss. Taking an active role in diabetes management can go a long way toward preventing complications.