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Diabetic Retinopathy

Ophthalmologist performing Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetes can affect sight

If you have Diabetes Mellitus, your body does not use and store sugar properly. Diabetes can cause high blood sugar levels, excessive thirst, and urination. Additionally, this condition can also cause changes in the body’s blood vessels, the veins, and arteries that carry blood throughout your body. This can affect your vision in several ways.

Diabetes can be the root cause behind eye conditions, such as cataracts, glaucoma, and, most importantly, damage to blood vessels inside the eye. If you’re diabetic or have experienced symptoms of diabetes, it’s important to have frequent eye examinations (recommended yearly) to determine if the disease is causing changes to your vision.

Diabetic Retinopathy Diagram

What is diabetic retinopathy?

Diabetic Retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that is caused by changes in the blood vessels of the eye. The retina is a nerve layer at the back of the eye that senses light and helps send images to your brain. When blood vessels in the retina are damaged, they may leak fluid or blood, and grow fragile, brush-like branches and scar tissue. This can blur or distort the images that the retina sends to the brain.

Diabetic Retinopathy is the leading cause of new blindness among adults in the United States. People with untreated diabetes are said to be 25 times more at risk for blindness than the general population.

The longer a person has diabetes, the more the risk of developing Diabetic Retinopathy increases. About 80% of the people who have had diabetes for at least 15 years have some blood vessel damage in their retina. People with Type 1, or juvenile, diabetes are more likely to develop Diabetic Retinopathy at a younger age.

If you have diabetes, it’s important to know that today, with improved methods of diagnosis and treatment, only a small percentage of people who develop retinopathy have serious vision problems. But you must carefully monitor your vision, along with an eye care professional, to avoid problems.

If you are experiencing any of the conditions mentioned above, contact Magruder Eye Institute and request an appointment with one of our Retina Specialists.

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