What was the first thing you thought about when you were diagnosed with diabetes? You probably experienced a wide-ranging mix of emotions and wondered how this news would affect the rest of your life. Your family might have had similar feelings.
Diabetic retinopathy is a diabetes complication that affects eyes. It’s caused by damage to the blood vessels of the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye (retina). At first, diabetic retinopathy may cause no symptoms or only mild vision problems. Eventually, it can cause blindness. The condition can develop in anyone who has type 1 or type 2 diabetes. The longer you have diabetes, and the less controlled your blood sugar is, the more likely you are to develop this eye complication.
You might not have symptoms in the early stages of diabetic retinopathy. As the condition progresses, diabetic retinopathy symptoms may include:
Spots or dark strings floating in your vision (floaters)
Impaired color vision
Dark or empty areas in your vision
Diabetic retinopathy usually affects both eyes.
Consider watching this video to know more about what is diabetes type 1….
Over time, too much sugar in your blood can lead to the blockage of the tiny blood vessels that nourish the retina, cutting off its blood supply. As a result, the eye attempts to grow new blood vessels. But these new blood vessels don’t develop properly and can leak easily. Anyone who has diabetes can develop diabetic retinopathy.
Complications can lead to severe vision problems like the new blood vessels may bleed into the clear, jelly-like substance that fills the center of your eye. If the amount of bleeding is small, you might see only a few dark spots (floaters). In more severe cases, blood can fill the vitreous cavity and completely block your vision.
The abnormal blood vessels associated with diabetic retinopathy stimulate the growth of scar tissue, which can pull the retina away from the back of the eye. This may cause spots floating in your vision, flashes of light, or severe vision loss.
New blood vessels may grow in the front part of your eye and interfere with the normal flow of fluid out of the eye, causing pressure in the eye to build up (glaucoma). This pressure can damage the nerve that carries images from your eye to your brain (optic nerve).
Eventually, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, or both can lead to complete vision loss. You can’t always prevent diabetic retinopathy. However, regular eye exams, reasonable control of your blood sugar and blood pressure, and early intervention for vision problems can help prevent severe vision loss.
If you have diabetes, reduce your risk of getting diabetic retinopathy by doing the following:
Manage your diabetes-Make healthy eating and physical activity part of your daily routine. Try to get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, such as walking, each week. Take oral diabetes medications or insulin as directed.
Monitor your blood sugar level-You may need to check and record your blood sugar level several times a day — more-frequent measurements may be required if you’re ill or under stress. Ask your doctor how often you need to test your blood sugar.
If you smoke or use other types of tobacco, ask your doctor to help you quit. Smoking increases your risk of various diabetes complications, including diabetic retinopathy.
Pay attention to vision changes. Contact your eye doctor right away if you experience sudden vision changes, or your vision becomes blurry, spotty, or hazy.
Diabetes is a complex condition that warrants serious attention. Talk about your concerns and feelings with your doctor, your family and friends—and together, learn the facts. Remember, diabetes doesn’t necessarily lead to vision loss. Taking an active role in diabetes management can go a long way toward preventing complications!
Until Next Time.
Team Doctor ASKY!