Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic Eye Disease

Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in adults under the age of 65. It is a complex disorder involving small blood vessels. These blood vessels provide nutrients to all the structures in the body, including the eyes. In diabetes, the blood vessels may begin to leak fluid and blood. This causes damage to the surrounding structures and interferes with the transport of needed nutrients. Research findings show that complications can be delayed with proper care and monitoring of the disease.

Diabetes can affect many structures in the eye, causing double vision from muscle palsies, fluctuations in vision from sugar level changes, and decreased vision from cataracts. The most serious vision problems arise from hemorrhages in the retina, from swelling of the retina, and from blood vessel growth under the retina. Laser therapy is used, when possible, to treat the retina.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in adults under the age of 65. It is a complex disorder involving small blood vessels. These blood vessels provide nutrients to all the structures in the body, including the eyes. In diabetes, the blood vessels may begin to leak fluid and blood. This causes damage to the surrounding structures and interferes with the transport of needed nutrients. Research findings show that complications can be delayed with proper care and monitoring of the disease.

Diabetes can affect many structures in the eye, causing double vision from muscle palsies, fluctuations in vision from sugar level changes, and decreased vision from cataracts. The most serious vision problems arise from hemorrhages in the retina, from swelling of the retina and from blood vessel growth under the retina. Laser therapy is used, when possible, to treat the retina.

Retinal disease in diabetes is divided into two forms: (1) Non-proliferative and (2) Proliferative. Non-proliferative retinopathy is present when there are hemorrhages, small dilations of the vessel walls and leakage of fluid into the surrounding retina. Proliferative retinopathy has the added problem of new blood vessels forming. These vessels will leak and bleed if left untreated. The most common cause of decreased vision is swelling of the retina from leaky blood vessels. Lasers are used to treat these leaks when possible.

Regular examinations are critical for early diagnosis and to determine when treatment will be most effective. Vision can be preserved in the majority of patients who are diagnosed early and examined regularly.

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