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DIABETIC RETINOPATHY

Patients with diabetes run the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy, a frequent cause of blindness among diabetics. It is estimated that people with this condition are 25 times more likely to run blind than non-diabetics.

 
WHAT IS DIABETIC RETINOPATHY?

It is an alteration of the eye caused by changes in blood vessels in the retina. These weakened blood vessels swell and leak fluid or blood, other new fragile blood vessels form with a brush shape and in some places get large. 

 
When blood or fluid leak from the blood vessels, it damages the retina or creates fibrous tissues on it, the image that is sent to the brain becomes blurry.

 

TYPES OF DIABETIC RETINOPATHY

Nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy is the earliest stage of diabetic retinopathy, and the least severe. Damaged blood vessels in the retina begin to leak extra fluid, which leads to blurry vision.

 
Proliferative diabetic retinopathy is the most advanced and severe stage of the condition. New blood vessels grow inside the eye, they are fragile and can bleed, and this can cause the creation of scar tissue in the retina and lost of vision.

 

CAUSES OF DIABETIC RETINOPATHY

The causes are not well known; however, it is known that diabetes weakens the walls of small blood vessels in several parts of the body. Pregnancy and high blood pressure can worsen this situation in diabetic patients. 


Even if there is a gradual development of blurred vision, eye problems can go unnoticed, unless detected during a medical examination. 


When hemorrhages occur in patients with diabetic retinopathy, vision becomes blurred or can be lost completely.



SYMPTOMS

One of the first symptoms of diabetic retinopathy is difficulty of seeing well at night. Other symptoms are:

 

  • Seeing spots or floaters in the field of vision
  • Blurred vision
  • Vision of lights
  • Distortion of images
  • Blindness

 


TREATMENT

Treatment’s main objective is to control sugar levels in the blood, bold pressure and cholesterol, they tend to make the condition worse. Medications are currently under development to avoid abnormal blood vessels to form in patients with proliferative diabetic retinopathy.


Laser surgery can be used to stop blood vessels from leaking or to eliminate the weak and abnormal ones.

Another used surgical procedure called vitrectomy is used when there is a lot of blood in the center of the eye, and it can also be used to repair damage caused by this lesion.