Do All Diabetics Get Retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy is a common complication of diabetes which affects the small blood vessels in the lining at the back of the eye. This lining is called the retina.
A healthy retina is necessary for good eyesight. Diabetic retinopathy is a serious condition that can cause the blood vessels in the retina to leak or become blocked and damage your sight. Thankfully, not all diabetics will get retinopathy. It is estimated that 40 to 45% of patients diagnosed with diabetes also have some stage of diabetic retinopathy.
Unfortunately, once a patient develops diabetic retinopathy, it will not go away. In the early stages, diabetic retinopathy will not affect sight, but if it progresses, eventually sight will be affected.
Diabetic retinopathy has four stages, categorized by their severity; they are mild, moderate, severe non-proliferative retinopathy and proliferative retinopathy.
Mild Non-Proliferative Retinopathy – In the earliest stage of retinopathy, micro-aneurysms (small balloon-like swelling) occurs in the retina’s tiny blood vessels.
Moderate Non-Proliferative Retinopathy – At this stage, some of the retina’s blood vessels become blocked.
Severe Non-Proliferative Retinopathy – As the disease progresses further, many more of the blood vessels become blocked, depriving the retina of its necessary blood supply. Due to this short supply of blood, the retina sends signals to grow new blood vessels for nourishment.
Proliferative Retinopathy – In the advanced stage, the retina signals trigger the growth of new blood vessels; these are abnormal and fragile. They grow along the surface of the clear, vitreous gel that fills the inside of the eye. As these new retinal blood vessels develop and grow abnormally, their fragile walls may leak blood and cause severe vision loss or blindness.
Although diabetic retinopathy does not go away, there are treatment options available to make sure it does not progress further. The best way to manage diabetic retinopathy is to control diabetes and maintain blood pressure at normal levels. Blood glucose levels may be controlled by eating healthy foods, exercising regularly and taking the diabetes medications prescribed by your regular doctor.
Diabetics must have regular visual exams after they are diagnosed with diabetes. In doing so, the treatment can be applied early, and serious vision problems can be avoided.
Since there are no well-known symptoms for retinopathy, it is advisable for diabetic patients to maintain regular vision exams. To schedule an appointment in Laramie, contact Snowy Range Vision Center at 307-742-2020 or website.