According to research, diabetes has become the leading cause of blindness across the world. Considering the rate at which obesity and diabetic retinopathy treatments is spreading throughout the global population. Diabetics presents a major health risk to the global population.
The process through which diabetes causes blindness involves neurological damage to the ocular nerve which can debilitate to the point of full-scale blindness. In the US, nearly 4.2 million adults have diabetic retinopathy and 655,000 at risk of DR that causes blindness.
What is Diabetic Retinopathy?
Diabetes is a condition where your body can no longer regulate the amount of glucose circulating in the blood stream. These increasing levels of blood sugar damage the blood vessels in the retina which then leaks fluids or blood into the retina. This damage to the blood vessels and the resulting damage to the retina is called diabetic retinopathy.
A simpler way of understanding this is to think of diabetic retinopathy as damage to the retina and surrounding blood vessels because of diabetes.
Types of Diabetic Retinopathy (DR)
There are two basic types of DR, namely:
· Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy
· Non-Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy
Non-Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy
This is an earlier stage of diabetic retinopathy, this is when retinal problems have not progressed to the point of full-scale blindness, but you might find that your vision is getting worse.
At this stage, the blood vessels start leaking blood and other fluids into the retinal tissue. This creates swelling on the retina that might contribute to a Diabetic Macular Edema. In the later stages of non-proliferative DR, the blood supply to the retina gets cut off which signals the body to produce new blood vessels that can later cause blindness.
Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy
Proliferative DR is when non-proliferative DR progresses to a point that the growth of blood vessels actively threatens your eyesight. Considering the continuing leakage of blood into the retina, these new blood vessels begin to actively leak blood to the extent of causing blindness.
Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy Treatments
With time, increasing damage to the blood vessels may lead to worsening of DR symptoms. These symptoms include:
1. Blurred or distorted vision
2. Loss of sight right down the center of the visual field. Particularly when reading or driving
3. Loss of the ability to see color
4. Small spots in the field of vision.
If you have diabetes and you experience these visions, you should consult with an eye specialist immediately to check if you have diabetic retinopathy.