Retinopathy is caused by complications of diabetes mellitus. Diabetes is an illness that hampers the body’s ability to utilize and store sugar, which can result in many health problems. Chronically high sugar level in the blood can damage the body, including the eyes.
Diabetic retinopathy is an ocular manifestation of systematic disease which affects upto 80 percent of all diabetic patients.
Diabetic retinopathy causes damage to the minute blood vessels that nurture the retina. They leak blood and other fluids that result in swelling of retinal tissue and distortion of vision. The condition normally affects both eyes. If ignored, diabetic retinopathy can eventually cause blindness.
Type 1 and type 2 people have a higher predisposition to developing diabetic retinopathy. The longer a person has diabetes, the higher the risk to develop diabetic retinopathy. Approximately 40 to 45 percent of Americans diagnosed with diabetes have some stage of diabetic retinopathy.
In the initial stages of diabetic retinopathy, the manifestation of symptoms is negligible. Therefore it is recommended that diabetics should undergo a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year, so early detection can be done.
The condition mostly advances undetected until it affects vision. Later on, symptoms develop like seeing spots or floaters in the field of vision, blurred vision, having a dark or empty spot in the center of your vision and difficulty seeing well at night.
The instant symptoms appear, it is imperative to consult the doctor, because without timely intervention, bleeding can recur, increasing the risk of blindness.
If diabetes is managed effectively, the onset and development of diabetic retinopathy is greatly reduced. This can be done by diet control, regular exercise, controlling pressure, avoiding alcohol and smoking.
Vision lost to diabetic retinopathy is sometimes irreversible. However, early detection and treatment can reduce the risk of blindness by 95 percent.
E137 – Diabetes and Retinopathy – www.diabetic.today