Diabetic retinopathy or diabetic eye is one of the more common conditions people with diabetes struggle with. It's the leading cause of blindness in adults in the U.S. This particular condition causes damage to the retina, which is the portion of the eye consisting of nerves. It's the part of the eye that receives light and transfers images to the brain. Two main types of diabetic retinopathy exist: non-proliferative retinopathy and proliferative retinopathy. With non-proliferative retinopathy, the small vessels in the back of the eye begin to swell. They then form pouches and eventually rob the retina of its blood supply. Proliferative retinopathy causes new blood vessels to grow, which prevents the retina from getting enough blood. The new vessels are weak, and blood can leak from them. This condition causes floaters, blurred vision, black spots in your field of vision, and a loss of your central vision.
Eye Care Is Especially Important When You Have Diabetes
Diabetes causes changes throughout the body. When blood glucose is out of control, it can damage blood vessels over time. The blood vessels in the eyes are very small and fragile. High blood glucose levels can lead to abnormalities in the blood vessels that can lead to vision impairment if not treated promptly. Diabetic people are also more vulnerable to eye diseases such as cataracts and glaucoma, which can impair vision; this is why optometrists recommend more frequent eye exams if you have diabetes.
Understanding Diabetic Retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy includes many conditions that affect the eyes. The blood vessels inside the eyes may develop pouches that block blood flow. New blood vessels may grow abnormally large and leak fluid into the eyes, increasing eye pressure. The retina at the back of the eyes may separate, leading to a vision emergency. Your eye doctor will monitor you carefully for these problems, so that proper treatment can be administered as quickly as possible.
Detecting Changes in the Eyes Caused by Diabetes
Because high blood sugar levels can damage blood vessels in the eyes, the eye test for diabetic retinopathy must be more thorough than a conventional eye exam. A comprehensive eye exam consists of a dilated eye examination. Our eye doctor will dilate your pupils and apply a yellow dye to your eyes that allow detailed viewing of blood vessels with special equipment. Our eye doctor will then carefully examine the internal structures of your eyes to detect any abnormalities. If a problem is detected, our eye doctor will refer you to a specialist in your area to provide appropriate treatment for the condition.