Diabetes is a common condition that affects millions of people. Diabetes occurs due to high blood sugar in the veins. Due to this, it can cause complications and can even damage several tissues and organs such as kidneys, nerves, eyes, feet, etc. Diabetic retinopathy is an eye problem that occurs when high blood sugar damages blood vessels in the retina. If this condition progresses, it can lead to blurred vision and even vision loss.
Hence, regular eye tests are important to correct the issue early. Early diagnosis of the condition can help take steps to avoid further progression of the condition.
Who Are at Risk of Developing Diabetic Retinopathy?
Any diabetic patient may develop diabetic retinopathy, irrespective of the type of diabetes. But patients who has diabetes for a long time are at higher risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. Hence, one should try to keep their blood sugar levels in control to reduce the risks.
Stages of Diabetic Retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy is broadly classified into two types namely nonproliferative and proliferative. Nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR) is the one that occurs in the early stages, whereas proliferative is the one that occurs in the advanced stage.
The four different stages of diabetic retinopathy are as follows:
Mild nonproliferative: It is the first stage of diabetic retinopathy where you notice balloon-like swelling in the blood vessels of the retina. The swellings are known as microaneurysms. The swelling can further lead to the leakage of fluids into the retina. You do not need any treatment at this stage. But it indicates that you might develop vision issues in the future. Hence, you should take proper care to prevent the condition from becoming worse. You should keep your blood sugar levels in control and should follow a healthy diet to prevent vision loss. If mild NPDR has affected both eyes, the chances of vision problems are high.
Moderate nonproliferative: At this stage, you might see more changes in your retina. Due to the swelling in the blood vessels, blood and fluid can flow into the retina and this causes vision loss. The blood flow to the retina also gets affected and it cannot receive the required nutrients to function properly. It is advised to have frequent eye screening to monitor your eyes.
Severe nonproliferative: If diabetes remains uncontrolled, more blockages occur in the retinal blood vessels and this reduces blood flow. This leads to the growth of new blood vessels that are thin and fragile. Due to this, more fluid and blood may leak into the retina and can also lead to retinal detachment. At this stage, you are at higher risk of vision loss.
Proliferative: It is the final and advanced stage of diabetic retinopathy. Due to additional damage to the retinal blood vessels, blood flow gets affected. This leads to the continues growth of new weak blood vessels. These thin and weak blood vessels can cause leakages and scar tissue inside the eye. This can further lead to retinal detachment and therefore causes blurry vision, decreased field of vision, and even permanent vision loss.
Signs of Diabetic Retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy may not show any signs until the disease progresses. You do not have any signs during the non proliferative stages. It means you may have diabetic retinopathy, but you do not know it.
However, the following are the common signs of diabetic retinopathy:
- Blur vision
- Reduced field of vision
- More number of eye floaters
- Distorted vision
- Poor vision at night
- Loss of vision
- Changes in colours
If diabetic retinopathy advances, it can cause permanent vision loss. But regular eye examination can detect this condition before it becomes worse and causes signs.
Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy
As diabetes is the cause of this condition, treating diabetes can help. You should keep your blood sugar levels in control and should follow a healthy lifestyle to prevent vision loss. The other treatments are based on the stage of your condition.
If you are at either moderate, or severe nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy or proliferative diabetic retinopathy, you must need treatment to get rid of the signs. The treatment options include:
- Eye injections
- Laser surgery
- Vitrectomy is a surgery used to remove scar tissue, blood, some vitreous gel, etc. to improve your vision
Want to Have a Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Test? Visit Think Eye Hospital Today
Think Eye Hospital is one of the best eye hospitals in Hyderabad who are committed to ending preventable blindness. We have a team of ophthalmologists who are trained to take care of all your eye care needs. We are committed to providing you the very best eye care in a timely and comfortable manner. Preserve your eyesight by contacting us and scheduling your comprehensive eye exam today.