What Is Diabetic Retinopathy?
Over 16 million American suffer from Diabetes Mellitus, and some do not even know about it. Although it generally affects the body by causing kidney failure, poor circulation, and neuropathy, it can also have detrimental side effects on a person's vision which can eventually lead to blindness. Diabetes Mellitus is the leading cause of blindness in the US between the ages of 40 and 64. It causes the blood vessels of the retina to become weak and leak fluid and blood, thus causing hemorrhages and swelling of the retina. Poorly uncontrolled diabetes eventually leads to ischemia (lack of blood flow) to the retina, which will cause new blood vessels to form. The new fragile blood vessels will eventually hemorrhage, creating profound visual loss, and eventually a retinal detachment. Many times, diabetic retinopathy can occur without the patient knowing about it, because it has no symptoms. That is why an annual screening eye examination is crucial for all diabetics.
Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy
If a treated problem is detected early, it can be treated with a laser treatment, in order to prevent future worsening of the vision and the retinopathy. The best treatment, of course, is excellent glucose control and normal HgA1C levels.