Diabetic retinopathy is a complication stemming from both Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes that can severely impact vision. Caused by damage to the blood vessels of the retina, there are minimal symptoms in the early stages but can lead to blindness if left untreated. Diabetic retinopathy is generally categorized as either early (nonproliferative) or advanced (prolieferative) diabetic retinopathy.
In the early stages, blood vessels can weaken and leak fluid and blood into the eyes. As the disease progresses, the damaged blood vessels can close off causing the growth of new, abnormal blood vessels. The growth of these new blood vessels eventually results in scar that can cause the retina to detach. It can also lead to hemorrhages and glaucoma.
Symptoms can include:
- Blurred or distorted vision
- Seeing spots or floaters
- Color impaired vision
- Vision loss
Mild cases can be treatment through careful management of your diabetes but advanced cases often require surgery or laser treatment. If you have diabetes, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle and continue receiving regular, comprehensive eye exams.