Diabetic Retinopathy is Leading Cause of Blindness
Diabetic Eye Disease
Diabetic Retinopathy is diabetic eye disease. One recent study found that six out of 10 people with diabetes did not get annual dilated eye exams that could save their vision. This is only one reason we stress the importance of getting an annual eye exam.
Diabetic Retinopathy is the result of damage to the small blood vessels and neurons of your retina. Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of new blindness in adults in the United States. It results from diabetes, a disease in which your body does not properly store and utilize sugar. The body is unable to properly draw sugar from the blood stream into the cells where it is needed for energy. As a result the sugar remains in the blood stream. These high levels of sugar can damage blood vessels in delicate structures like the retina, which is a film-like layer in the back of the eye that senses light.
Diabetic retinopathy progresses in four stages. The most severe is proliferative retinopathy which can lead to severe vision loss. Fortunately there are very effective treatments to prevent severe vision loss related to diabetes. The key to prevention is regular eye exams at least annually or as directed by your doctor. We will evaluate you for diabetic eye conditions.
Non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR): is the early sate of the disease in which symptoms will be mild or non-existent. In NPDR, the blood vessels in the retina are weakened causing the tiny bulges called microaneurysms to protrude from their walls. The microanuerysms may leak fluid into the retina, which may lead to swelling of the macula.
Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR): is the more advanced form of the disease. At this stage, circulation problems cause the retina to become oxygen deprived. As a result new fragile blood vessels can begin to grow in the retina and into the vitreous, the gel-like fluid that fills the back of the eye. The new blood vessel may leak blood into the vitreous, clouding vision.
Other complications include detachment of the retina due to scar tissue formation and the development of glaucoma. Glaucoma is an eye disease defined as progressive damage to the optic nerve. In cases of proliferative diabetic retinopathy, the cause of this nerve damage is due to extremely high pressure in the eye. If left untreated, proliferative diabetic retinopathy can cause severe vision loss and even blindness.
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