Everything That You Need To Know About Diabetic Retinopathy

Doctor in hospital using a digital tablet

Diabetic retinopathy is one of the diabetes complications that affects a person's eyesight. It doesn't cause any symptoms at first, but leaving it unattended can result in blindness.

Diabetic retinopathy happens when the blood vessels in the retina get damaged because of diabetes. Anyone who has type 1 or type 2 diabetes can be prone to this condition. But people who've had diabetes for a long time and had less control over their blood sugar are more prone to diabetic retinopathy.

Primary symptoms of diabetic retinopathy

loseup portrait headshot elderly man with glasses having trouble seeing

The American Optometric Association says that people with this eye condition tend to see spots or floaters when they open their eyes. They also suffer from blurred vision and often have an empty or dark spot in the center of their sight. They also find it difficult to see well at night. That's why most people would often look for aids for the visually impaired in the UK to help them live comfortable lives.

When people with diabetes struggle with long periods of high blood sugar, the body's fluid tends to accumulate inside the lens of the eyes. It can cause a person to lose control of his eyes' ability to focus. It results in changes in the curvature of the lens, resulting in blurred vision. But once the sugar level gets controlled, the patient's vision will improve.

Often, the early stages of diabetic retinopathy have no apparent symptoms. That's why experts suggest having a comprehensive dilated eye examination at least once every twelve months. Early detection, as well as treatment, can help deter its effects.

Possible complications of diabetic retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy results in the abnormal swelling of blood vessels in a patient's retina. If left untreated, this can lead to serious eyesight problems such as vitreous hemorrhage and retinal detachment. With vitreous hemorrhage, the new blood vessels tend to bleed into a clear substance that resembles jelly. This substance can fill your eye and completely block your vision. Vitreous hemorrhage doesn't cause complete blindness. A patient's vision may return to its previous level of clarity as soon as the blood gets cleared.

Meanwhile, retinal detachment involves the stimulation of scar tissue growth caused by abnormal blood vessels. Once this happens, the blood vessels can pull the retina away from the back part of the eye. It can result in spots whenever the patient opens his eyes. It can also involve flashes of light or even vision loss.

The Mayo Clinic says that glaucoma is another complication associated with this eye problem. When a person has diabetic retinopathy, new blood vessels can grow in the front part of the eye, interfering with the normal flow of fluid away from the patient's eye. Once this happens, it can cause pressure to build up in the eye. Soon, it can damage the patient's optic nerves, which can lead to severe problems.

If you have any of the symptoms of diabetic retinopathy, feel free to reach out to your eye doctor about it. Doing so will help you find the right treatment immediately so it wouldn't get any worse.