Diabetic Retinopathy, also known as diabetic eye disease, is a medical condition in which damage occurs to the retina due to diabetes mellitus. Diabetes causes damage to the tiny blood vessels that nourish the retina (the seeing part of the eye), at the back of the eye. It is one of the leading causes of blindness, especially for people aged 20 to 64 years.
All people with diabetes mellitus are at risk – those with Type I and Type II diabetes. The longer a person has had diabetes, the higher their risk of developing some ocular problem. In fact, it affects up to 80% of diabetics who have had diabetes for 20 years or more due to poorly controlled blood sugar. Women should note that If you have gestational diabetes during pregnancy, you could also develop diabetic retinopathy.
The first stage, called non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR), has no symptoms. This makes it imperative for you to have regular eye examinations as early intervention can greatly improve any visual prognosis.
In the second stage, abnormal new blood vessels form at the back of the eye as part of proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR); these can burst and bleed and blur the vision, because these new blood vessels are fragile. The first time this bleeding occurs, it may not be very severe and leave just a few specks of blood or spots floating in a person’s visual field, though the spots often go away after a few hours. Therefore, the early signs like blurred vision, floaters, dark or red areas of vision, and difficulty perceiving colours should not be ignored.
At least 90% of new cases could be reduced through early detection (done with regular eye tests) timely treatment and monitoring of the eyes.
Effective diabetes management: As a patient with Diabetic Retinopathy, you need to strictly control your blood sugar and blood pressure to stop vision loss. Follow the diet your nutritionist has recommended and take the medicine your diabetes doctor prescribed for you. Good management will help delay the development of retinopathy.
Regular eye examinations: Early diagnosis and treatment can usually prevent severe vision loss. It is important to have your eyes tested when diabetes is first diagnosed. With the use of retinal photography, Ocular Coherence Tomography, and visual fields, we can carefully monitor for any changes to the retina and reduce your risk of developing Diabetic Retinopathy.
Make sure you don’t delay and book in for an eye test at The Eye Scene today. Call us on 9362 9944.