Diabetic Retinopathy Facts

Diabetic Retinopathy Facts

Created on: Friday, December 21, 2018
Author: Chesen Laser Eye Center

When it comes to diabetes, it's important to know that all parts of the body are affected, including the eyes. If you've recently been diagnosed, here are some of the facts you need to know!

What Are The Symptoms Of Diabetic Retinopathy?

If you are diabetic, it’s only natural for you to learn everything you can about diabetic vision problems. One term you may have heard of is diabetic retinopathy

Maybe you know of the condition but aren’t sure exactly what it is. Or you are looking for information about symptoms to watch for. We’ve covered that and more, so keep reading!

What Is Diabetic Retinopathy?

Diabetic retinopathy is a complication associated with diabetes. The condition is a result of the blood vessels in the back of the eye - at the retina - become damaged. 

What Causes Diabetic Retinopathy?

In uncontrolled diabetes, high blood pressure can become damaging. This occurs in the small blood vessel walls of the retina at the back of the eye. This alters both their function and their structure. The damaged blood vessels may then react in many different ways including:

  • Leaking
  • Thickening
  • Development of clots
  • Growth of micro-aneurysms (a balloon-like defect)

The damaged blood vessels also may close off. If fluid accumulates in the retinal area, abilities become restricted. This includes tasks like reading. 

Advanced cases of diabetic retinopathy occur when blood supply to the retina is cut off. The retina then attempts to grow replacement blood vessels. The replacement blood vessels are defective due to the lack of blood supply that created them.

Who Is At Risk?

Diabetic Retinopathy can develop in anyone with either Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes. The longer you have had diabetes, the higher your risk is of developing the condition. 

What Symptoms Do I Need to be Aware Of?

Diabetic retinopathy may or may not cause noticeable symptoms in its earliest stages. The condition usually affects both eyes. When symptoms are present, they are usually mild vision problems. As diabetic retinopathy continues to progress, symptoms may include the following: 
  • Blurry vision
  • Fluctuation vision changes
  • Floaters: spots or strings that float in your vision 
  • Dark or empty voids in your line of vision
  • Impairment of color vision 
  • Loss of vision

What Can I Do?

The best way to prevent vision loss if you are diabetic is to manage your condition. 

When Should I See My Doctor?

Contact your eye doctor immediately if you notice any sudden vision changes. You should also contact your eye doctor if your vision suddenly becomes hazy or blurry.

Why Do My Eyes Need To Be Dilated For Every Exam?

When your eye doctor puts eye drops in your eyes at the beginning of your eye examination, it is necessary. This is even more the case for diabetics.The eye drops cause the pupils to widen. 

This, in turn, lets in more light. With more light, your eye doctor has a better view and you get a more thorough examination. Thanks to eye dilation, eye doctors are able to catch eye conditions and treat them faster.

Need more information about diabetic retinopathy? Contact Chesen Laser Eye Center in West Reading, Pennsylvania for a consultation today!


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