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Diabetic Retinopathy

Description of Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy occurs when chronically high glucose levels in poorly controlled diabetes damages the tiny blood vessels in the retina.At the outset, most people do not notice any changes in their vision. Some people go on to develop a condition called Macular Edema.This occurs when the damaged blood vessels leak fluid onto the macula, the part of the retina that enables us see detail. The fluid makes the macula swell, leading to blurred vision. As the disease progresses, fragile new blood vessels grow along the retina and in the clear, gel-like, vitreous that fills the inside of the eye.Without timely treatment, these new blood vessels can bleed, cloud vision and, ultimately, destroy the retina.

Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy often has no early warning signs but as the disease progresses to the condition of Macular Edema, vision will begin to blur, making it difficult to do things like reading and driving. In some cases, vision may get better or worse during the day. As new blood vessels form at the back of the eye, they can bleed and blur vision.This may not be very severe at first, in most cases leaving just a few specks of blood or spots floating in your vision. These sometimes disappear after a few hours but are often followed within a few days or weeks by a much greater blood leakage leading, in turn, to increasingly blurred vision. In extreme cases, a person will only be able to tell light from dark in the affected eye.You should be aware that large haemorrhages tend to happen more than once and often occur during sleep.

Treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy

There are two treatments for diabetic retinopathy. Both treatments are very effective in reducing vision loss from this disease. In fact, even people with advanced retinopathy have a 90% chance of keeping their vision when they get treatment in advance of severe damage to the retina. The treatment most commonly used for vision threatening retinopathy is Photocoagulation. This is the use of an intense beam of laser light to seal the leaking blood vessels and the fragile or torn retinal tissue. The laser beam is also used to prevent the growth of abnormal new blood vessels. Another recent treatment for advanced diabetic retinopathy is called Vitrectomy. In this technique, a delicate instrument is used to break up the blood deposits and scar tissue strands within the vitreous and remove them by suction. At the same time, through another channel, a clear salt solution is injected to replace the vitreous.

What the world looks like for a sufferer of Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic Retinopathy