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Diabetic Retinopathy

What is Diabetic Retinopathy?

Diabetic retinopathy is a condition in which diabetes damages the blood vessels in the eye and causes them to leak. This can result in vision complications and even vision loss.

What Are the Causes?

Individuals with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are at risk for diabetic retinopathy, which occurs when elevated levels of blood sugar weaken the blood vessels in your eyes. In turn, these weak blood vessels leak fluid into your eye and blur your vision.

Who Gets Diabetic Retinopathy?

People with diabetes who do not keep their blood sugar under control are the most likely candidates to develop diabetic retinopathy.

What Are the Symptoms?

Many diabetics do not display symptoms of retinopathy, and when symptoms like blurry or obstructed vision do occur, it generally means the disease has progressed to a fairly severe point. If you have diabetes, it’s extremely important for you to get an eye exam with dilation once a year, so your doctor can look for signs of retinopathy.

In some cases, your doctor will perform a test called a fluorescein angiography. This test uses dye to track circulation in your retinas and could provide a more definitive diagnosis.

How Can Diabetic Retinopathy Be Treated?

Diabetic retinopathy is far easier to treat and has fewer complications when caught early. Of course, maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly will help prevent and fight off the effects of diabetic retinopathy, but there is no sure-fire fix.

Surgery may help with serious cases of diabetic retinopathy. Laser treatment has proven to be very effective at sealing leaking blood vessels, but success of this surgery can vary depending on how long the leak has been there.

Can Diabetic Retinopathy Be Prevented?

The most effective way to reduce your risk of developing retinopathy is by controlling your blood sugar levels and seeing your eye doctor once a year for an eye exam. Keeping your blood pressure under control, maintaining a healthy diet, following an exercise routine, and not smoking will also help you avoid diabetic retinopathy.