Diabetes is the mother of many diseases. It’s like opening a can of worms. Diabetes affects many organs of the body and eyes are one of them. People with diabetes are significantly more inclined to developing eye complications as they age. As per American Diabetes Association people with diabetes are 40% more likely to suffer from glaucoma and 60% more likely to develop cataracts. Further, they’re very likely to develop some form of diabetic retinopathy within their lifetime.
Like most eye complications diabetic retinopathy is also preventable and treatable.
WHAT IS DIABETIC RETINOPATHY?
fluctuations in blood glucose cause Diabetic retinopathy and damages retinal blood vessels. The retina is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye and is responsible for translating light into images. In some cases, macular edema will develop as a result of retinopathy. Diabetic macular edema (DME) is the swelling of the macula, which is near the center of the retina and responsible for detailed vision. Left untreated both of these conditions can lead to severe visual impairment and even vision loss.
REASONS BEHIND DIABETIC RETINOPATHY?
When blood glucose levels aren’t kept in check and remain consistently high, the small blood vessels located in the retina sometimes swell, get weakened or can even begin to hemorrhage.
These clusters of swelling are called microaneurysms. As it worsens, these microaneurysms can impair the blood vessels’ ability to transport blood. As this blood flow becomes increasingly scarce, the eye may attempt to improve circulation by developing new, abnormal blood vessels. These blood vessels are delicate and even more inclined to leak blood, which is accompanied by scar tissue. This scar tissue can cause the retina to pull away from its surrounding tissue, a condition known as retinal detachment.
In some, cases new blood vessels might actually form at the front of the eye. When they do, the flow of fluid leaving the eye can become impaired, causing a build-up of pressure in the eye, causing glaucoma. When this occurs, it’s possible to damage the optic nerve.
This most advanced stage can lead to complete vision loss.
Poor glucose control
High cholesterol level
Pregnancy (can worsen or increase the speed of onset)
High blood pressure
SYMPTOMS OF DIABETIC RETINOPATHY?
While early stages are hard to detect without a medical professional, but as the condition advances with time it can show the following symptoms:
Changes in vision (blurriness, loss of central vision)
Spots or floaters in your vision
Areas that are dark or “empty” in your vision
Difficulty seeing at night
Difficulty seeing colors
If you notice any changes in your vision, you should contact your doctor immediately.