Diabetic Retinopathy is the medical term for the most common diabetic eye problem.
Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in American adults. It damages the blood vessels in the retina, the light-sensitive nerve tissue in your eye that sends visual images to your brain.
Blurred vision or temporary blindness can occur when blood vessels weaken, bulge and leak fluid into surrounding tissue, causing swelling – a condition called macular edema. Abnormal new blood vessels may often, grow on the retina, where they can bleed into the eye and block vision.
As the disease progresses, the retina can detach from the eye, resulting in permanent blindness. Irreversible vision loss can be prevented with early detection and treatment. This is just one of the reasons it is so important to have your eyes checked on a regular basis. In addition to testing your vision, we will look for any signs of eye disease.
Retinal damage happens slowly. Your retinas have tiny blood vessels that are easy to damage. Having high blood glucose and high blood pressure for a long time can damage these tiny blood vessels.
First, these tiny blood vessels swell and weaken. Some blood vessels then become clogged and do not let enough blood through. At first, you might not have any loss of sight from these changes. This is why you need to have a comprehensive eye exam once a year even if your sight seems fine.
As diabetic retinal problems get worse, new blood vessels may grow. These new blood vessels are weak. They break easily and leak blood into the vitreous of your eye. The leaking blood keeps light from reaching the retina.
You may see floating spots or almost total darkness. Sometimes the blood will clear out by itself, but you might need surgery to remove it.
Over the years, the swollen and weak blood vessels can form scar tissue and pull the retina away from the back of the eye. If the retina becomes detached, you may see floating spots or flashing lights.
You may feel as if a curtain has been pulled over part of your vision. A detached retina can cause loss of sight or blindness if you don’t take care of it right away.
Call us right away if you are having any vision problems or if you have had a sudden change in your vision.