Jun 14, 2021
Diabetic Retinopathy – 8 things you need to know.
Diabetic Retinopathy can occur in anyone that has prolonged high blood sugars, which means both type one and type two diabetics are at risk for developing retinopathy.
Here are 8 facts you might not have known about this eye condition:
– Retinopathy is when the blood vessels in the back of the eye are damaged from extended periods of having a high blood sugar or hemoglobin A1C. This causes the light-sensitive retina to become damaged.
– Retinopathy can manifest in a number of ways. Patients may at first experience sport or dark areas floating in their vision. They may also have blurred vision, fluctuating sight, impaired color vision, vision loss, or difficulty with large blank spots in their sight.
– Retinopathy usually affects both eyes, and will not occur in one eye without the other showing signs.
– To check and monitor for retinopathy, diabetics are encouraged to have yearly eye exams with dilations so that a professional can check if there are any signs of retinopathy or check the progression of any damage already present.
– Pregnancy can worsen retinopathy, so if you are pregnant or plan on becoming so, be sure to schedule an appointment with your eye doctor to monitor your ocular health.
– Retinopathy occurs because there is a weakening of the walls of the blood vessels in the eyes, causing fluid to leak into the retina. At advanced stages, this can build up to where the old blood vessels close off, causing new ones to form. The scar tissue inside the eye can cause the retina to detach, leading to a buildup of fluid inside the eye and causing glaucoma.
– Likelihood of the occurrence of diabetic retinopathy can be increased by additional risk factors, including but not limited to tobacco use, high blood pressure, pregnancy, duration of diabetes, poor glycemic control, high cholesterol, or being African American or Native American.
– To help prevent diabetic retinopathy, work on good control of your blood sugars, managing your diabetes and scheduling regular tests with your endocrinologist, keeping your blood pressure and cholesterol low, quitting the use of any tobacco products, and making and keeping appointments with your eye care center to monitor ocular health and track any vision changes.
Alert your eye care professional to any changes in your diabetes management, keep them appraised of your management and progress, and let them know if you experience any problems with your visions or have concerns.