Diabetic retinopathy is an eye condition which occurs when diabetes damages the tiny blood vessels in the retina. Did you know that diabetes can affect your eyes? It can cause the loss of vision when it starts affecting your retina. At bud stage, small fine blood clots develop on the retina followed by hazy white spots. Retinopathy can be easily cured and reversed in initial stages.
In many cases, patients have blurred vision due to diabetic retinopathy. But the problem is diabetic retinopathy does not have symptoms to warn the patient early. By the time it is detected, it will be quite late. Early detection and balanced blood sugar levels are essential to keep retinopathy under control. Diabetic patients should be screened to detect the problem annually or every six months. It is more prevalent in children suffering from type 1 diabetes, it is also found among adults with type 2 diabetes.
There are two types of diabetic retinopathy
Nonproliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (NPDR)
Nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR) is the earliest stage of diabetic retinopathy. In this damaged blood vessels in the retina begin to leak extra fluid and small amounts of blood into the eye. In some cases, cholesterol or other fats from the blood leak into the retina.
Nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy has 3 stages-
1. Mild nonproliferative retinopathy
This is first stage in which there is small areas of balloon-like swelling in the retina’s tiny blood vessels.
2. Moderate nonproliferative retinopathy
This is second stage where some blood vessels that nourish the retina are blocked.
3. Severe nonproliferative retinopathy
in third stage many more blood vessels are blocked, depriving several areas of the retina of their blood supply. These areas send signals to the body to grow new blood vessels for nourishment.
Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (PDR)
Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) mainly occurs when most of the blood vessels in the retina close, preventing enough blood flow. Signals are sent by retina when it is devoid of nutrition; this triggers signals and leads to formation of new blood vessels. This is called neovascularization. These new blood vessels are abnormal and do not supply the retina with proper blood flow. The new blood vessels are often accompanied by scar tissue that may cause the retina to wrinkle or detach. Moreover, if these blood vessels leak out blood, severe vision loss and even blindness can result.
It is essential to go for regular eye checkup time to time. People having high blood sugar level are at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. Regular screening will help in detecting the stage and early detection may help in better treatment and reversing the affect of diabetic retinopathy.