diabetic patient

What is Diabetic Retinopathy?

Diabetes & Your Eye Health

Patients with diabetes focus on keeping their blood sugar at a healthy level, but there are other conditions that need to be considered as well. For example, diabetic retinopathy can lead to a significant loss of vision if left untreated.

Read more about this condition and how our team at Key-Whitman Eye Center can provide the best eye care in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metropolitan Area.

How Common is Diabetic Retinopathy?

This condition occurs when high blood sugar levels cause damage to blood vessels in the back of a patient’s retina. The blood vessels either swell or close — preventing a proper flow of blood. This is a serious condition that is more common than you might realize. Here are the numbers:

  • Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in adults 20-64 years old and one of the most frequent causes of retinal blindness in the world.
  • Nearly 1 out of 3 people with diabetes have diabetic retinopathy.
  • From 2010 to 2050, the number of Americans with diabetic retinopathy is expected to nearly double, from 7.7 million to 14.6 million.

Types of Diabetic Retinopathy

Non-Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (NPDR)

This early stage of diabetic retinopathy is common in many diabetic patients. Blood vessels begin to close off and the center of the retina, the macula, begins to swell. A lack of blood flow can cause particles to form on the retina, causing blurry vision.

Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (PDR)

PDR is the more advanced form of diabetic retinopathy. A patient’s retina will start growing new blood vessels that are fragile and can bleed into the middle of the eye (known as the vitreous). Over time, this condition can cause scar tissue, a detached retina, and most importantly — central and peripheral blindness.

Common Symptoms

In the early stages of diabetic retinopathy, patients often experience no symptoms. However, a patient may experience the following symptoms in both eyes as their condition progresses:

  • Seeing flashes and floaters.
  • Having blurry vision.
  • Seeing black or dark areas.
  • Fluctuating vision.
  • Losing vision.

Treating your diabetic retinopathy in its early stages is crucial to avoid symptoms as your condition progresses.

Diagnosis & Treatment

Regular eye examinations for diabetics are mandatory and necessary for the early detection of leaky retinal blood vessels. There is a range of treatment options to manage this condition, including laser treatment, lifestyle changes, and medication that can be used to treat these abnormal blood vessels, and sometimes surgery is required to clear the eye of blood left by the disease.

Diabetic Eye Disease Treatment in Dallas

If you or someone you know has diabetes, remember to schedule regular eye exams with your Key-Whitman Eye Center eye doctor so we can track your symptoms and recommend treatment if necessary.

Book your next eye exam online today or call us at (214) 225-2577.

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