Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes, caused by high blood sugar levels damaging the back of the eye (retina).
Diabetes is a complex metabolic disorder that impairs the body’s ability to produce or use insulin effectively to regulate blood sugar levels. Unfortunately, over time elevated blood sugar levels can cause damage throughout the body with many complications to one’s health and overall wellbeing. Diabetes contributes to the development of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, eye problems, nerve impairment, and medical issues in the extremities.
The term “diabetic eye disease” refers to a group of conditions that potentially threaten the eyesight of people with diabetes.
This group of conditions includes:
The most common cause of vision loss among individuals with diabetes is diabetic retinopathy, which is a consequence of damage to the tiny blood vessels in the back of your eyes. While initially, you may not experience any symptoms, the complications of diabetic retinopathy can lead to severe vision problems and even blindness. Moreover, about half of those affected by diabetic retinopathy develop diabetic macular edema, which compromises the area of the retina used for reading, driving, and recognizing faces.
Background diabetic retinopathy, also known as non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy, offers an early, visible sign of small blood vessel disease. However, since the tiny aneurysms and hemorrhages that characterize this early stage may not produce noticeable vision changes, many diabetics remain unaware of an advancing disease process. Yet, once background diabetic retinopathy gets detected, it elevates the risk for more severe damage and vision loss,
For people with diabetes, regular dilated eye exams are essential for early detection and the prevention of vision loss. In addition to scheduling a comprehensive dilated eye exam and controlling your blood sugar levels, it’s critical to pay close attention to any changes in your vision. Contact our office right away if you notice any sudden fluctuations or if your vision becomes spotty, blurry, or hazy.