How Does Diabetic Retinopathy Occur – In diabetes, chronic high blood sugar levels combined with damage to the lining of the blood vessels in the retina can cause diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy begins as an abnormality in the blood vessels of the retina. There are often places where blood circulation is weak or absent on the retina. Sometimes, as time passes, fluid leaks out of the retinal vessels, causing swelling of the central retina and possibly loss of vision. In more advanced stages, new abnormal blood vessels grow on the surface of the retina, which can lead to bleeding and irreversible vision loss.
People with all types of diabetes (type 1, type 2 and gestational) are at risk for diabetic retinopathy. The risk of diabetic retinopathy increases when a person has diabetes and relatively poor blood sugar control. Patients with more severe degrees of retinopathy are more prone to vision loss and require more intensive monitoring. Patients with other medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and kidney disease, are more likely to have decreased vision due to diabetic retinopathy. Women who have or have had diabetes during pregnancy may develop or worsen diabetic retinopathy and should be closely monitored. Most diabetics should see an ophthalmologist or retina specialist at least once a year. Visiting often is often necessary.
Sometimes, if retinal or macular inflammation occurs due to diabetic retinopathy, vision may appear distorted or blurred. It can be difficult to read, focus on road signs and see fine details.
Sometimes abnormal blood vessels develop, which can bleed, cause spots, or cloud the vision. Sometimes poor blood flow or drag on the retina can cause very poor vision.
Often, diabetic retinopathy can develop silently. Screening tests and proper follow-up are very important, because patients may not know that problems are developing in their eyes.
Diabetic inflammation can be treated with medication. Avastin, Lucentis, and Illea eye drops prevent blood vessels from leaking and bleeding in diabetic retinopathy. Patients with inflammation due to diabetic retinopathy have a significant improvement in their eyes with regular monitoring and injections. Sometimes steroid injections and extended steroid depots can be helpful in treating diabetic macular edema or inflammation. Routine clinical examinations and OCT scans can determine when injections are needed. Fluorescein angiography can sometimes be useful.
Laser therapy also helps with diabetic macular inflammation. Both conventional and micropulse laser treatments can improve diabetic macular edema and provide more durable treatment results than immunotherapy. Laser treatments can be used in addition to injections and may result in patients needing fewer injections. Because micropulse therapy does not damage the retina, it can be used more often than conventional lasers.
When abnormal blood vessels grow on the surface of the retina, proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) occurs. PDR can be treated with laser therapy. Injections can also improve PDR. Sometimes, when bleeding or traction occurs, vitrectomy surgery may be necessary to stabilize or improve vision.
In all cases, good blood sugar control is important. Careful management of other health problems, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, kidney disease, and obesity, is good for your eyes. We will inform your doctors about the condition of your eyes. This information may be useful to your diabetes doctor. Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that causes damage to the blood vessels in the retina – the light-sensitive tissue that lines the back of the eye so you can see fine details.
It is the most common cause of irreversible blindness in working-age Americans. Diabetic retinopathy occurs in more than half of people with diabetes.
The retina is a layer of light-sensitive nerve tissue that lines the back of the eye.
As light enters the eye, the iris passes through the retina, where images are focused and converted into electrical impulses that travel along the optic nerve to the brain, resulting in vision.
In diabetic retinopathy, the high blood sugar levels caused by diabetes can damage the small blood vessels that feed the retina and in some cases it can be completely blocked. When damaged blood vessels leak fluid into the retina, it causes swelling, poor circulation, and scarring, which can lead to vision loss.
Anyone with diabetes—type 1 (also called juvenile diabetes), type 2 (also called adult-onset diabetes), and gestational diabetes—is at increased risk of developing diabetic retinopathy.
You can have diabetic retinopathy for a long time without showing any symptoms, and then it can cause serious damage.
Patients with diabetes often ask, “Is there anything I can do once to prevent or treat diabetic retinopathy or vision loss?”
If you have diabetes, it is very important to keep the eye examination schedule set by your retina specialist. How often you need to be tested depends on the severity of your disease. With early detection, the retina specialist can begin a treatment plan to help prevent vision loss and preserve the activities you love most.
The best way to diagnose diabetic retinopathy is a dilated retinal examination. During this examination, the doctor puts drops in the eye, which causes the pupils to dilate (wide open) into the eye, especially the retinal tissue, to have a better view.
If you’re over 50, a dilated retinal exam every 1 to 2 years is a good idea so a doctor can look for signs of diabetes or diabetic retinopathy before vision loss occurs.
There are several approved treatments for diabetic retinopathy, including intravitreal (inside the eye) injections, laser treatments, and surgery. These procedures can be done in the office or hospital to prevent, treat, or reverse diabetic retinal damage.
Early diagnosis and treatment is very important to preserve vision and prevent vision loss completely. For those with vision loss from diabetic retinopathy, there are resources that can help. For example, your retina specialist may recommend a low vision rehabilitation program to make daily life a little easier with this disease. Retina Diabetic Retinopathy – Can It Be Reversed? December 11, 2018 | By Dr. Raja Rami Reddy P | Tags: blindness, diabetes, diabetes mellitus, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, hyperglycemia, intravitreal injection, laser eye surgery, eye treatment, eye treatment, retinal detachment, Sutureless Vitrectomy, vitreous hemorrhage
Light-sensitive retinal cells convert light into electrical signals, which are then sent to the brain, where they are converted into visible images. A network of bright tiny blood vessels continuously supplies blood to the retina.
When blood glucose levels are high, hyperglycemia can affect all parts of the body, including the precious eyes. A negative effect of hyperglycemia is blurred vision, which is a sign of diabetes.
If the sugar level is not kept at a normal level, the blur will not disappear. Diabetes mellitus causes damage to the blood vessels that supply blood to the retina. This can lead to blindness.
Diabetic retinopathy is caused by hyperglycemia or high blood sugar. In this condition, the blood vessels of the retina are damaged and become swollen or bleed. If this is not recognized and treated, it leads to vision loss. It takes many years for diabetic retinopathy to progress to the point where it can lead to total blindness.
According to World Health Organization (WHO) statistics, diabetic retinopathy accounts for approximately 5% of all cases of blindness worldwide. As the prevalence of diabetes increases, the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy increases significantly. By 2035, the number of people with diabetic retinopathy is expected to increase to around 592 million.
The prevalence of diabetes mellitus has increased significantly in countries like India and about 62.4 million people in India have diabetes. In a study of 22,896 diabetic patients in 35 population-based studies conducted in Australia, the United States, Europe, and Asia, the prevalence of diabetic retinopathy was found to be 34.6%.
In general, diabetic retinopathy affects both eyes. In the early stages of diabetic retinopathy, there are usually no signs or symptoms. As the complication progresses, it can lead to:
Vitreous hemorrhage: Occurs when new blood vessels begin to bleed into the vitreous. This is less complicated and you can see the floaters. However, with severe bleeding, blood fills the vitreous and temporarily blocks vision completely. This complication takes a few weeks or months to clear up unless the retina is damaged.
Glaucoma: Diabetic retinopathy also causes new blood vessels to grow in the front of the eye. This causes an increase in eye pressure and interference with normal fluid flow. Glaucoma can damage the optic nerve and lead to permanent blindness.
Retinal detachment: Retinal detachment occurs when damaged blood vessels pull the retina away from the supporting tissue. In this case, at first you may see floaters and flashes of light, and then complete blindness.
Fortunately, diabetic retinopathy is preventable and can also be treated.
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