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Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetes, the condition where the body cannot use or store sugar properly. When your blood sugar gets too high, it can damage the blood vessels in your eyes. This will lead to a condition called diabetic retinopathy. In fact, the longer you have diabetes, the more likely the chance that you do have or will develop retinopathy.

AS the dieses progresses it will lead to new blood vessel growth over the retina. This in turn will cause scar tissue to develop which can then pull the retina away from the back of the eye in a condition known as retinal detachment and can cause blindness if left untreated.

Another condition can occur where abnormal blood vessels can grow over the iris and can cause a condition known as glaucoma.

It should be known that people with diabetes are 25 times more likely to loose vision than those that do not have diabetes. This is a statistic provided by the American Academy of Ophthalmology. While everyone that has diabetes is at risk for developing diabetic retinopathy, not all diabetics develop it.

Some of the symptoms of diabetic retinopathy can be: you will notice a change in your vision, you could see floaters, you could have difficulty in reading or doing close up work. Another sign can be double vision.

If you have any of these signs, see you eye care provider/doctor  immediately. If you are a diabetic you should see your eye care provider/doctor once a year and get a dilated eye exam. Another exam that may be done is the fluorescein angiography. This test uses dye that is injected into the blood stream and then shows up in the retina blood flow. A picture is then taken of the eye and the doctor can then tell just how far the disease has progressed.

Diabetic retinopathy can be caused by the high blood sugar that damages blood vessels in the retina. When these blood vessels are damaged they can bleed and leak fluid. This in turn will cause the retina to swell and form deposits. This is a early form of diabetic retinopathy.

A later form of diabetic retinopathy will happen when blood vessels grow on the surface of the retina. This new blood vessel growth can be serious to vision as they can break, releasing blood into the vitreous which is the clear jelly like substance in the center of the eye. This is a much more serious condition and can lead to blindness.

If you are diabetic you can reduce your risk of getting diabetic retinopathy by following common sense and taking care of yourself. Keep your diabetes under control by following all prescribed procedures and by having a yearly eye exam.

If you do develop diabetic retinopathy, 95% of you can avoid substantial vision loss if treated in time. This is why a dilated vision exam yearly is so important.

Diabetic retinopathy can be treated with laser photocoagulation to seal the leaking blood vessels and destroy new growth. This is not a painful process.

Sometimes if blood has leaked into the vitreous fluid the doctor may take a wait and see route to see if the clouding goes away on it's own. If it does not, the doctor may perform a procedure called viterctomy where the blood that has leaked into the vitreous fluid is removed.