Diabetic retinopathy

Retinopathy is the condition where the retina at the back of the eye is damaged due to the blockade of its nutrient blood vessels. If not treated it may lead to damage of vision or blindness.

Complications

Cataract-Clouding of the lens of the eye leading to blurred vision. Cataract may develop at early age in people with diabetes.

Glaucoma-increased fluid pressure inside the eye that leads to optic nerve damage and loss of vision. A person with diabetes is nearly twice more likely to get glaucoma than other adults.

Causes

An elevated blood glucose level is the main factor for retinopathy. These high levels of sugar can cause swelling in lens leading to blurred vision. Apart from this, high levels of cholesterol and tobacco use also lead to diabetic retinopathy.

Symptoms

  • Blurred vision.
  • The new blood vessels growing on the surface of the retina can bleed into the eye and block vision.

Diagnosis

  • Visual test
  • Dilated eye exam
  • Tonometry (to assess the pressure)

Who is at risk of diabetic retinopathy?

People with diabetes are at high risk. Every diabetic individual must have an eye check done at least once a year to avoid or detect eye complications.

During pregnancy, diabetic retinopathy might be a problem for women with diabetes. To protect vision, every pregnant woman with diabetes must have a dilated eye exam done.