Diabetic retinopathy


Diabetic retinopathy /DR/ is a diabetes-related complication that affects the eyes. It is caused by damage to the blood vessels of the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye /retina.

Initially, the complication may not cause any clinical manifestations, or if there are any, they are so insignificant that they are not noticed.

But subsequently, retinal damage can progress and become the cause of blindness.

DR can develop in anyone who has type 1 or type 2 diabetes. The longer a person has diabetes and does not control their blood sugar, the more likely they are to develop the complication.

To preserve your vision, you must take serious preventive measures. Start controlling your blood sugar first and go for yearly eye exams.

What are the symptoms?

It is quite possible that a person may have acquired the complication of diabetes but not suspect it at all. In fact, the probability of developing any clinical manifestations in the early stages is very small.

As the complication progresses, the most characteristic symptoms are:

• Frequent appearance of dark spots or dark streaks in the vision;
• Blurred vision;
• Sudden attacks of weakening vision;
• Constant presence of dark or empty spaces in the vision;
• Gradual weakening of color perception;
• Loss of vision;

The complication usually affects both eyes.

DR can be classified as early or advanced stage depending on the signs and symptoms presented:

• An early form of the complication, also called non-proliferative, as the growth of new blood vessels has not yet begun. ASD can be described as mild, moderate or severe.

In this form of the complication, the walls of blood vessels in the retina weaken. They also develop small protrusions, called microaneurysms, which can sometimes start leaking fluid or blood.

As the complication progresses, the smaller vessels narrow and the larger ones begin to dilate and their outer surface becomes irregular.

Nerve fibers in the retina in most cases begin to swell. Sometimes the center of the retina (the macula) also begins to swell. This condition is better known as macular edema.

• An advanced form of the complication, or proliferative, as new blood vessels begin to grow in the retina, and their shape is abnormal.

And they usually appear in a jelly-like substance that fills the center of the eye /vitreous body/.

Subsequently, the connective tissue stimulated by the growth of new blood vessels can cause the retina to detach from the back of the eye.

If the new blood vessels prevent the normal drainage of the fluid from the eye, the intraocular pressure increases, which is the reason for the development of glaucoma.

And this can cause damage to the nerve that sends images from the eye to the visual center in the brain /optic nerve/.

Treatment of diabetic retinopathy

Treatment largely depends on at what stage the complication is. In most cases, when it is in its initial phase, no treatment is needed.

But active monitoring by an ophthalmologist is needed to determine when treatment will be necessary.

It is also important to seek the assistance of the doctor who monitors your diabetes. The good news is that when the complication is mild to moderate, effective blood sugar control

However, when it is in an advanced stage, surgical treatment is required.

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