Diabetic Retinopathy is a condition that can affect patients with diabetes. Diabetes is the number one cause of blindness in the United States. It causes progressive damage to the retina, the light-sensitive lining in the back of the eye.
Diabetes interferes with the body’s ability to use and store sugar (glucose). This disease causes too much sugar in the blood, which can cause damage throughout the body, including the eyes.
Over time, diabetes damages the blood vessels in the retina, causing them to leak blood and other fluids. This causes swelling to occur in the retina, which may result in cloudy or blurred vision. Having your eyes examined yearly, helps to reduce your risk of vision loss caused by diabetes. This is why it’s imperative to have a comprehensive dilated eye examination once a year. Early detection and treatment can limit the potential for significant vision loss from diabetic retinopathy.
Treatment of diabetic retinopathy varies depending on the extent of the disease. One of the most common forms of treatment is to use laser surgery to seal leaking blood vessels or to discourage other blood vessels from leaking. Other treatments may involve injections of medications to improve the swelling within the retina.
If you are diabetic, you can help prevent or slow the development of diabetic retinopathy by
- Taking your medications as prescribed
- Sticking to your diet
- Exercise regularly
- Controlling blood pressure
- Avoid alcohol and smoking
- Monitoring blood sugar and Hemoglobin A1C