A condition of diabetes that impacts the eyes is diabetic retinopathy. The blood vessels of the light-sensitive tissue in the back of the eye are mutilated, which is what causes it (retina). Initially, diabetic retinopathy may not evidently show symptoms or may only result in minor vision issues. But it might result in blindness. Anyone with type -1 or type -2 diabetes has the risk of acquiring the disease. The length of diabetes and the level of blood sugar control intensifies the risk of acquiring this eye condition.
During the early juncture of diabetic retinopathy, you might not experience any symptoms. As the problem worsens, you could experience:
- Patch or dark strings floating in your vision (floaters)
- Blurred vision
- Fluctuating vision
- Dark or bare areas in your vision
- Vision loss
Over time, having too much sugar in your blood can cause the little blood vessels that feed the retina to become blocked, so preventing the retina from receiving blood. The eye attempts to generate new blood vessels as a result.
Diabetic retinopathy comes in two different forms:
- Early diabetic retinopathy- Nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR), the more common kind of early diabetic retinopathy, is characterized by the absence of new blood vessel growth (proliferating). When you have NPDR, the retinal blood vessel walls degenerate.
The small bulge from the smaller arteries’ walls can occasionally exude fluid and blood into the retina. The diameter of sizeable retinal vessels can also start to enlarge and change.
NPDR can aggravate when more blood vessels are blocked, going from mild to severe. There may be sporadically an accumulation of fluid (edema) in the macular region of the retina as a result of retinal blood vessel injury. If macular edema compromises vision, treatment is required to avoid irreparable vision loss.
- Advanced diabetic retinopathy – Proliferative diabetic retinopathy is a more severe form of diabetic retinopathy that might develop into advanced diabetic retinopathy. This type of outcome is in the development of new, aberrant blood vessels in the retina as injured blood vessels close off. Because these new blood vessels are weak, the clear, jelly-like fluid that fills the center of your eye may leak (vitreous). As new blood vessels grow, scar tissue may eventually cause the retina to split from the back of your eye. The eyeball may become pressurized if the new blood vessels clog the usual drainage of fluid from the eye. Glaucoma can evolve as a result of this buildup harming the optic nerve, which delivers images from your eye to your brain.
Diabetic retinopathy can happen to everyone who has diabetes. The following factors can bring the chance of developing the eye condition:
- a lengthy history of diabetes
- Having trouble controlling your blood sugar
- elevated blood pressure
- High triglycerides
- tobacco use during pregnancy
The development of anomalous blood vessels in the retina is a complication of diabetic retinopathy. Complications results in severe eyesight issues:
- Vitreous bleeding- The translucent, jelly-like fluid that fills the center of your eye may leak from the new blood vessels. If there is little bleeding, you could just notice a few dark dots. Blood can fill the vitreous cavity in more severe situations, completely obstructing your vision. Usually, a vitreous hemorrhage does not result in permanent visual loss. Within a few weeks or months, the eye’s blood generally stops being present.
- Retinal detachment- Scar tissue can pull the retina away from the back of the eye as a result of the aberrant blood vessels linked to diabetic retinopathy. This may result in floating dots in your field of vision, bright flashes, or serious vision loss.
- Glaucoma- The iris, the portion of your eye that is in front, can develop new blood vessels that can obstruct the fluid’s natural passage out of the eye, increasing pressure inside the eye. The nerve that dissiminates images from your eye to your brain may be damaged by this pressure (optic nerve).
- Blindness- Complete vision loss can result from diabetic retinopathy, macular edema, glaucoma, or a combination of these disorders, particularly if the symptoms are not well controlled.
WHEN TO VISIT AN OPHTHALMOLOGIST
The greatest method to avoid losing your vision is to carefully control your diabetes. Even if your eyesight seems fine, get a yearly eye assessment with dilation if you have diabetes. If you already have diabetes or get it while pregnant, your chance of developing diabetic retinopathy may increase (gestational diabetes). Your eye doctor may instruct for further eye exams throughout your pregnancy if you’re expecting. If your eyesight straight away changes or becomes cloudy, splotchy, or blurry, call your eye doctor straight away. The consultation fee is INR 500 to INR 2000 charged by an ophthalmologist in Delhi.
Sometimes it’s impossible to stop diabetic retinopathy. Regular eye checkups, healthy blood sugar, and blood pressure management, and early vision problem resolution, however, can help prevent serious vision loss.
Take the following actions if you have diabetes to reduce your risk of getting diabetic retinopathy:
- Controlling your diabetes– exercising and eating well make them a part of your everyday regime. Get at least 150 minutes each week of moderate aerobic exercise, such as walking. As prescribed, consume insulin or oral diabetic medicines.
- Track the level of your blood sugar- If you’re sick or under stress, you might need to check and record your blood sugar level more frequently than once a day.
- Inquire with your doctor about a test for glycosylated hemoglobin– The hemoglobin A1C test, also known as the glycosylated hemoglobin test, measures your average blood sugar level throughout the two to three months before the test. The A1C target for the majority of diabetes sufferers is 7% or less.
Keep your cholesterol and blood pressure under control– Losing excess weight, maintaining a balanced diet, and exercising frequently can assist. Occasionally, medication is also required.
About the Author/s
The New Jersey Digest is a new jersey magazine that has chronicled daily life in the Garden State for over 10 years.