We Bet You Didn’t Know This About Diabetic Retinopathy

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diabetic retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy, a.k.a diabetic eye disease, does not occur overnight.

But over time, an excessively high level of blood sugar does end up damaging the retina of your eyes and its blood vessels, which in turn, turns you blind.

So if you are a diabetic, you really need to read this.

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Risk Factors of Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic eye disease is one of the most common complications of diabetes. And neither Type 1 patients nor Type 2 patients are spared from this creeping sickness.

Nevertheless, the following are some of the risk factors of developing this eye condition:-

1. Time Since Diagnosis

The risk of developing diabetic retinopathy is considerably higher in patients who have lived with diabetes for a long time, as compared to those who have just been diagnosed.

2. Status of Blood Sugar

People who have poorly-controlled blood sugar are at a greater risk of developing the complications associated with diabetes, including diabetic eye disease.

3. High Blood Pressure

Your blood vessels are not equipped to handle blood rushing through them under high pressure for long durations of time. That's why those who suffer from hypertension often develop arterial complications, including diabetic retinopathy.

4. High Cholesterol

Cholesterol plaques don't just clog the arteries supplying your heart. They can even clog the arteries in the peripheries of your body, including the eyes.

5. Pregnancy

Pregnancy is the most vulnerable period of a woman's life. And many often develop gestational diabetes (diabetes caused by pregnancy).

6. Tobacco Use

Tobacco use is known to cause endarteritis. That is, it can cause constriction of capillaries and cut off the blood supply in various parts of the body.

Also read - How to Control Diabetes: Top 5 Ways

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Diabetic Retinopathy Symptoms

Diabetic retinopathy develops over time.

Nevertheless, it shows no symptoms in its early stages. And only causes the following once the disease has progressed considerably.

1. Blurred vision

2. Fluctuating field of vision

3. Floaters - dark strings/spots that float past your field of vision due to hemorrhaged blood in the vitreous humor of the eye.

4. Color blindness

5. Blindness

Also read - All You Need to Know About India's Burden of Blindness

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Diabetic Retinopathy Types

Diabetic retinopathy is classified into two types based on its stage of progression.

Type 1: Non-Proliferative Type

Diabetic retinopathy develops when the blood vessels supplying your retina (and eyes) become obstructed. This causes minute bulges or aneurysms to form all over the occluded vessels as they fail to push out the blood.

Type 2: Proliferative Type

Once the disease has progressed considerably and a large number of arteries are occluded, new vessels start to develop from these obstructed ones.

Only, they are abnormal blood vessels and fail to supply the eye properly, and instead leak blood and fluid into the clear jelly of the eyeball (the vitreous humor), which gradually leads to floaters and then vision loss.

Also read - 10 Home Remedies for Diabetes

What Should You Do?

If you are a diabetic, you are already at a high risk of developing diabetic retinopathy.

In fact, when we talked to Dr. Bhujang Shetty about blindness, he revealed that all diabetic patients need to get their eyes checked by an ophthalmic surgeon once every year because a lot of people develop blindness even after controlling their blood sugar religiously.

So if you are diabetic, we strongly recommend that you visit the nearest eye hospital once every year for a checkup. Because when it comes to diabetic retinopathy, only ophthalmologists have the know-how to keep you from going blind.

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Read more about: diabetes, diseases, health
Story first published: Wednesday, October 4, 2017, 13:30 [IST]
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