10 reasons Why You Should be Aware of Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic Retinopathy

What is Diabetic Retinopathy?

Diabetic retinopathy is an eye condition that is caused by high blood sugar levels that damage the blood vessels present in the retina located at the back of the eye. It leads to haemorrhage and causes distorted vision when it reaches a progressive stage. It is the predominant cause of vision-impairment or blindness among adults and is the major cause of vision loss among diabetics. Eye specialists recommend that the public be aware of this disease in order to avoid the threat of blindness caused by it.

The fundamentals of diabetic retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is one of the highly specific and serious vascular complications of type 1 as well as type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is touted to be the major cause of retinopathy. People who live with type 1 diabetes for over twenty years are susceptible to have some degree of this eye condition. Over 60% of those living with type 2 diabetes for 20 years are also prone to it.

Diabetic retinopathy poses a serious risk of loss of vision, and so it is better for people with diabetes to have awareness about this condition. Among the elderly population in which several eye diseases are common, diabetic retinopathy is the cause of legal blindness. Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy include multiple floaters, blurred vision, impaired colour vision, double vision, and dark or empty areas in vision.

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Factors that necessitate awareness about diabetic retinopathy

#1. Diabetic retinopathy is related to blindness among adults

It has been proven that diabetic retinopathy is one of the leading causes of blindness in adults across the world. The number of vision loss cases in the globe caused by diabetic retinopathy far exceeds that caused by any other disease. Reports say that around 33% of the 283 million individuals who suffer from diabetes are affected by this eye condition.

#2. Diabetic retinopathy risk is related to the duration of diabetes

It has been proven that 25%, 60% and 80% of the patients with type 1 diabetes are likely to develop the condition of retinopathy after 5, 10, and 15 years of living with the disease. The more people with diabetes are aware of their disease and its duration, the better the chances of their avoiding diabetic retinopathy.

#3. Knowing the risk factors that contribute to diabetic retinopathy is crucial

Smoking, hypertension, nephropathy, anaemia, and poor glycemic control are associated with the progression of this disease. Awareness about the impact of such factors helps people to take the appropriate course of action in their lives to prevent diabetic retinopathy and reduce its progression.

#4. The routine funduscopic examination helps identify diabetic retinopathy

When you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you must have your eyes examined on a regular basis. The frequency of such follow-up examinations must be based on the severity of the retinopathy during diagnosis. Typically, people with advanced retinopathy will need more frequent examination. The regular examination enables early diagnosis and treatment, thus reducing the risk of permanent blindness significantly.

#5. Keeping blood sugar levels and blood pressure under control helps reduce the risk

Patients must be aware that controlling blood sugar levels and blood pressure are instrumental in not only reducing the risk of diabetic retinopathy but also slowing down its progress. Intensely controlling the serum lipid levels and blood glucose levels helps to keep the progression of the retinopathy at bay, necessitating awareness about this fact.

#6. Diabetes patients are more prone to ophthalmic complications, especially diabetic retinopathy

Patients with any type of diabetes are likely to develop eye conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts, corneal abnormalities, neuropathies, and iris neovascularization. Since diabetic retinopathy happens to be the most common complication, as well as the leading cause of blindness, a clear understanding and awareness is imperative.

#7. Knowing the basics of vision-saving treatment procedures is crucial

Vision loss caused by diabetic retinopathy can be prevented by early diagnosis of the disease and providing aggressive treatment. By early detection, and with timely treatment as well as follow-up care, a staggering 90% of the blindness risk can be reduced. This necessitates having in-depth knowledge about diabetic retinopathy and its treatment procedures.

#8. Awareness of diabetic retinopathy helps avoid several complications associated with the eyes

The first thing people with diabetes need for reducing the burden of complications related to the eyes and vision is awareness about diabetic retinopathy. Early detection reduces the risk of blindness significantly.

#9. Women with preexisting diabetes must have a clear understanding of diabetic retinopathy

It is essential for women with diabetes to undergo a comprehensive eye examination when they become pregnant. Counselling about the risk related to the progression of this disease is crucial.

#10. Knowing the stages of diabetic retinopathy is essential to treat the disease

Diabetic retinopathy has four different stages that are ranked as mild, moderate, acute non-proliferative, and proliferative. Treatment options vary according to the extent of this disease. The common treatment options are laser treatment, injection of medicines, and surgical procedures. Among the causes of Diabetic Retinopathy, the predominant one is too much sugar in the blood. Chennai hosts the best eye hospital in India where you get the most reliable treatment for this condition.

Stages of Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is a form of blindness that is triggered by excess sugar in the bloodstream. Due to the excess sugar, certain blood vessels in the retina begin swelling up. This gradually spreads across the eye if left unchecked, and can lead to potential vision loss.

Diabetic Retinopathy progresses through a number of stages:

#1. Mild Nonproliferative Retinopathy

At the onset, the disease presents itself with minimal swelling in the eyes. These are called microaneurysms, and usually do not manifest any major symptoms.

#2. Moderate Nonproliferative Retinopathy

In this stage, the aneurysms proliferate and create blockages in the eye. This build-up of fluid in the eye is known as diabetic macular oedema.

#3. Severe Nonproliferative Retinopathy

This is the point where the blockage grows to significant levels. The retina receives signals to start generating more blood vessels to cope with the blockage.

#4. Proliferative Diabetic Therapy

This is the cumulative stage of diabetic retinopathy. The new blood vessels develop and spread into the vitreous humour of the eye. These blood vessels may rupture, causing retinal detachment and subsequent vision loss.

Wrap-up

Diabetic retinopathy is a major cause of visual impairment and blindness. It becomes imperative that patients who have diabetes understand and are educated about this serious disease that might eventually lead to complete loss of vision. Increasing the awareness level of diabetic retinopathy among patients with diabetes is a crucial factor that enables early detection and effective management of diabetic retinopathy. Moreover, it helps to prevent the disease from causing visual impairment.

Best Retina Specialists in India suggest that keeping blood sugar levels under check and sticking to a healthy diet and exercise regimen are the first line of defence against this disease.

 

FAQ About Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is curable through alleviation of its symptoms and effects. Treatment methods like photocoagulation and vitrectomy have proven to be effective in treating retinopathy and preventing its proliferation.

The primary symptom of diabetes is increased blood sugar. This is known to have an impact on vision, especially if the blood sugar levels shoot up considerably. Excess blood sugar can affect the blood vessels in the eye, in a condition known as diabetic retinopathy.

In most cases, diabetic retinopathy can be easily diagnosed by a simple eye exam and dilation from your eye doctor. By checking for swollen blood vessels in the eye, the doctor can discern the presence of diabetic retinopathy. In certain cases, an optical tomography scan may be required to arrive at a clear-cut diagnosis.

If left unchecked, diabetic retinopathy can proliferate to levels where complete vision is imminent. As more and more fluid builds up in the eye, the vision impairment increases. This can easily be rectified through a procedure prescribed by your eye doctor.

The treatment method for diabetic retinopathy depends upon the severity of the ailment, and differ from patient to patient. Accordingly, the cost will also vary. Consult your eye doctor to get a precise idea on this subject.

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