Diabetic retinopathy (die-uh-BET-ik ret-ih-NOP-uh-thee) is a diabetes complication that affects eyes. It's caused by damage to the blood vessels of the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye (retina).

At first, diabetic retinopathy may cause no symptoms or only mild vision problems. Eventually, it can cause blindness.

The condition can develop in anyone who has type 1 or type 2 diabetes. The longer you have diabetes and the less controlled your blood sugar is, the more likely you are to develop this eye complication.

Symptoms

You might not have symptoms in the early stages of diabetic retinopathy. As the condition progresses, diabetic retinopathy symptoms may include:

·         Spots or dark strings floating in your vision (floaters)

·         Blurred vision

·         Fluctuating vision

·         Impaired color vision

·         Dark or empty areas in your vision

·         Vision loss

Diabetic retinopathy usually affects both eyes.

laser_pdr.jpg

When to see a doctor

Careful management 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 seems fine. Pregnancy may worsen diabetic retinopathy, so if you're pregnant, your eye doctor may recommend additional eye exams throughout your pregnancy.

Contact your eye doctor right away if your vision changes suddenly or becomes blurry, spotty or hazy.

Causes

Over time, too much sugar in your blood can lead to the blockage of the tiny blood vessels that nourish the retina, cutting off its blood supply. As a result, the eye attempts to grow new blood vessels. But these new blood vessels don't develop properly and can leak easily.

Risk factors

Anyone who has diabetes can develop diabetic retinopathy. Risk of developing the eye condition can increase as a result of:

·         Duration of diabetes — the longer you have diabetes, the greater your risk of developing diabetic retinopathy

·         Poor control of your blood sugar level

·         High blood pressure

·         High cholesterol

·         Pregnancy

·         Tobacco use

·         Being African-American, Hispanic or Native American

 

Complications

Diabetic retinopathy involves the abnormal growth of blood vessels in the retina. Complications can lead to serious vision problems:

·         Vitreous hemorrhage. The new blood vessels may bleed into the clear, jelly-like substance that fills the center of your eye. If the amount of bleeding is small, you might see only a few dark spots (floaters). In more-severe cases, blood can fill the vitreous cavity and completely block your vision.

Vitreous hemorrhage by itself usually doesn't cause permanent vision loss. The blood often clears from the eye within a few weeks or months. Unless your retina is damaged, your vision may return to its previous clarity.

·         Retinal detachment. The abnormal blood vessels associated with diabetic retinopathy stimulate the growth of scar tissue, which can pull the retina away from the back of the eye. This may cause spots floating in your vision, flashes of light or severe vision loss.

·         Glaucoma. New blood vessels may grow in the front part of your eye and interfere with the normal flow of fluid out of the eye, causing pressure in the eye to build up (glaucoma). This pressure can damage the nerve that carries images from your eye to your brain (optic nerve).

·         Blindness. Eventually, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma or both can lead to complete vision loss.

Diagnosis

Diabetic retinopathy is best diagnosed with a comprehensive dilated eye exam. For this exam, drops placed in your eyes widen (dilate) your pupils to allow your doctor to better view inside your eyes. The drops may cause your close vision to blur until they wear off, several hours later.

During the exam, your eye doctor will look for:

·         Abnormal blood vessels

·         Swelling, blood or fatty deposits in the retina

·         Growth of new blood vessels and scar tissue

·         Bleeding in the clear, jelly-like substance that fills the center of the eye (vitreous)

·         Retinal detachment

·         Abnormalities in your optic nerve

In addition, your eye doctor may:

·         Test your vision

·         Measure your eye pressure to test for glaucoma

·         Look for evidence of cataracts

Fluorescein angiography

With your eyes dilated, your doctor takes pictures of the inside of your eyes. Then your doctor will inject a special dye into your arm vein and take more pictures as the dye circulates through your eyes' blood vessels. Your doctor can use the images to pinpoint blood vessels that are closed, broken down or leaking fluid.

Treatment

Treatment, which depends largely on the type of diabetic retinopathy you have and how severe it is, is geared to slowing or stopping progression of the condition.

Even after treatment for diabetic retinopathy, you'll need regular eye exams. At some point, additional treatment may be recommended.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


We provide free consultation with our best doctors for all our pationts.

Consult us...