Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic Eye Exam - Optomize Mandurah
Common Eye Conditions

What is Diabetic Retinopathy?

Diabetic Retinopathy, or Diabetic Eye Disease (DED), is an eye condition associated with diabetes. It can potentially cause blindness or significant loss of vision in people struggling with diabetes.

Eye Conditions Developing from Diabetes

As older people are highly susceptible to diabetes, studies suggest that children and adolescents can suffer from it.

Diabetes can cause more than retinopathy in people. Other eye conditions that occur due to diabetes include:

  • Neovascular Glaucoma
  • Retinal Detachment
  • Diabetic Macular Edema (DME)

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Common Causes of Diabetic Retinopathy

Studies from the last decade suggest that one-third of people over the age of 40 with diabetes suffered from diabetic retinopathy. Moreover, studies suggest that anyone who has been struggling with diabetes for a few years is bound to experience retinopathy.

The prime cause for diabetic retinopathy is the damage and blockage in the blood vessels at the back of the eye, i.e., the retina. Damage may not be the sole cause. In fact, the development of new blood vessels can also cause DED. Furthermore, it all leads to a leakage of fluids and blood into the eye.

What happens in Diabetic Retinopathy?

Due to excessive sugar accumulation in the blood vessels at the back of the eye, the body starts producing but eventually fails to develop new blood vessels. These underdeveloped vessels lead to cloudy particles accumulating in your eye, suggesting damage to light-sensitive tissues in your retina. Consequently, you might suffer from vision distortion, or perhaps, total vision loss in the long-term.

Common Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy

Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy might not be detectable until DED causes significant damage to the eyes. Symptoms might include:

  • Seeing dark spots
  • Floaters in your vision
  • Colour blindness/ difficulty in differentiating between various colours
  • Blurry, fuzzy, or wavy vision
  • Improper night vision
  • Major or total loss of vision

Treatment Options for Diabetic Retinopathy

Managing diabetes is critical to controlling the level of retinopathy you suffer from. Your endocrinologist will work with you in this aspect to limit the progression of DED. A few treatment options are as follows:

Photocoagulation

  • Scatter: targets the minuscule holes in the eyes to prevent blindness
  • Focal: targets a particular vessel that is leaking fluid in the eye

Vitrectomy

Your surgeon will perform surgery to remove the scar tissue causing cloudy particles to accumulate in the back (i.e., retina).

Risk Factors

Doctors believe that certain activities and factors of daily life can lead to DED.

  • Smoking
  • Obesity during diabetes
  • Unhealthy food
  • Unhealthy blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels
  • Avoiding annual eye exams

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