What exactly is Diabetic Retinopathy?

People with diabetes have to be particularly careful, as there are serious health issues that can arise because of the disease.  Several eye conditions are known to be related to diabetes, with diabetic retinopathy being one of the most severe. But what is diabetic retinopathy?

Understanding diabetes and how it affects the eyes

Diabetes occurs when the body does not produce sufficient amounts of insulin. Insulin is the main hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar levels in the body. However, the diabetic individual is unable to keep blood sugar at the normal level.

Most people are unaware of the level of damage diabetes can do to the eyes, because it affects the retina, and can threaten vision. If they’re not careful, diabetes sufferers can experience partial or complete vision loss. Therefore each diabetic patient should consult their eye specialist regularly, so that retinal problems can be diagnosed early.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetes affects the blood vessels throughout the body, including those at the back of the eyes. It causes blood vessel to bleed or leak fluid, and when this happens, blood and other fluid gets deposited at the back of the eye. Left untreated, it leads to blurry, distorted vision.

Common symptoms of diabetic retinopathy (click here) include blurry vision, double vision, and floaters (small dots, specks, or lines that appear across the vision). When the disease reaches an advanced stage it can cause hemorrhages that blur vision for long periods of time, and eventually lead to blindness.

Early diagnosis is therefore vital, as there are no obvious symptoms in the early stages. Patients with Type 2 diabetes face a higher risk of developing diabetic retinopathy.

Contact the Center for Ophthalmology and Laser Surgery in Lighthouse Point, FL, for more information on diabetic retinopathy. Call 954-786-5353 to schedule a consultation with Michael Loeffler, MD.

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