Diabetic retinopathy is the top reason people with diabetes experience vision loss, and in adult Americans, it is the most common cause of blindness. It is a condition characterized by abnormal blood vessel activity in the retina, and it normally affects both eyes. The leakage and swelling of these blood vessels are what defines diabetic retinopathy and leads to vision loss. If the condition is not cared for, a person’s eyes can be permanently damaged. Researchers like Kang Zhang often recommend that people with diabetes see the eye doctor and check regularly for the earlier stages of this condition.
What Causes Diabetic Retinopathy?
The higher blood glucose levels that diabetic people typically experience can lead to damaged blood vessels, including the ones in your eye. This happens because the excess glucose becomes a sort of roadblock to the smaller blood vessels necessary to your eye’s overall health. This prompts your eye to try and grow new vessels to compensate, but because of the obstruction of glucose, they don’t get the building blocks they need in order to be created correctly. Because these “backup” blood vessels aren’t made of the sternest stuff, they often leak, bleed, or swell. If a person’s blood glucose levels go on at high levels without treatment, this process repeats until eventually your retina becomes scarred. The combination of excess fluids and scar tissue in your eye can lead to even more issues, including the detachment or rupture of your retina.
What Are the Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy?
Different disorders of the eye tend to have different visual symptoms. Diabetic retinopathy is often an asymptomatic disorder until it is a real problem, meaning you don’t notice the symptoms until it is already bad. When you do notice something, it will often look like holes, black spots, floating spots, blurred vision, lack of color distinction, and/or inhibited central vision. Because noticing symptomsmeans the problem has already progressed, you would probably be wise to get a yearly checkup with your eye doctor. They can test to see if your retina is healthy and catch the disorder early. This will allow them to treat you more effectively as a result.
Even if you haven’t been experiencing trouble managing your glucose levels, you could gain some peace of mind in making sure you do your yearly eye checkup. Since the symptoms don’t present themselves until the condition is well-progressed, keeping ahead of things could make a huge difference in preserving your vision as a diabetic person.