It is a well-known fact that diabetes is associated with a number of eye disorders, some of which might even result in blindness if left untreated. These disorders are together classified as “diabetic eye disease”, interchangeably used with the term “diabetic retinopathy”. However, diabetic retinopathy is just one of the many eye conditions that patients with diabetes are prone to having, other common ones include cataract and glaucoma.
Diabetic retinopathy is the most common disorders that fall under diabetic eye disease, and is the leading cause of blindness in America. It occurs due to certain changes in the blood vessels in the retina, such as swelling, blockage, oozing fluid, or growth of new blood vessels. Since the retina is the primary region of the eye associated with proper vision, any change in it affects the vision, and in severe cases, completely distorts it, leading to blindness. Diabetic retinopathy affects 40% of the people with type 1 diabetes, and 20% of those with type 2 diabetes.
While many patients remain unaware of the condition, with the presence of background diabetic retinopathy, the disorder is more pronounced in others, who suffer from maculopathy or proliferative diabetic retinopathy. In maculopathy, the macula of the eye is affected, impairing the ability to focus on details like small print or people’s faces. This disorder can be cured with the help of laser treatment, after which the peripheral vision (required for day-to-day activity) is restored in most patients, while the central vision might remain affected to a certain extent.
Proliferative diabetic retinopathy is the most critical of all the three types, and affects approximately 5% of all patients with diabetes. It is more common in patients with type 1 diabetes, and affects nearly 60% of the patients who have had diabetes for more than 30 years. In this type of diabetic retinopathy, a proliferation of new blood vessels occurs in the retina, which might result in several complications such as extensive hemorrhages or complete vision loss.
Other eye complications associated with diabetes include temporary blurring, which varies with blood sugar levels, and cataract, in which the vision becomes clouded, and can be corrected with a minor operation. Diabetics are advised to have an annual diabetic eye screening to detect any eye disorder at any early stage, and to visit their GP immediately in case of any unusual vision-related problems. It is also important to visit an eye doctor and keep a check on important health parameters like blood sugar levels, blood pressure, cholesterol level, etc., to maintain an active lifestyle.
To know more about diabetic retinopathy and its treatment, visit us at Killeen Eyecare Center. We are located at 416 North Gray Street, Killeen, TX 76541, Downtown Killeen. You can also call us at 254-634-7805.