Diabetes can affect many parts of the body. The retina may become affected and the condition is diabetic retinopathy. People with diabetes are 25 times more likely to lose vision than those who are not diabetic. As soon as you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, it is important to have a comprehensive eye exam at least once a year.
The retina is the tissue lining the inside back wall of the eyeball. It is here that light is transformed into nerve signals. Diabetic retinopathy is the most common cause of blindness in people between age 25 and age 65. Fortunately, visual loss can often be prevented with early detection and treatment.
In background diabetic retinopathy, the tiny blood vessels in the retina begin to leak, causing fluid or blood to seep into the retina. Normal blood vessels would not leak. This leakage interferes with the function of the retina; if it occurs in the macula, the central portion of the retina and its most sensitive area, it causes blurred vision. Laser treatment can seal the leaking blood vessels or reduce the leakage, allowing the fluid to absorb and improve retinal function.
In proliferative diabetic retinopathy, the blood vessels of the retina become blocked and circulation is impaired. In an attempt to compensate for this, abnormal new blood vessels begin to grow. These are very serious, as the new vessels are fragile and can bleed into the vitreous gel, which fills the eye. Such bleeding can cause mild or severe visual loss. Scar tissue can grow on the surface of the retina and pull it away from the layers underneath, causing a retinal detachment. Laser treatment can destroy the diseased portions of the retina to stop the growth of new vessels.
Fraser Eye Care Center and the Eye Care Center of Port Huron specialize in the diagnosis and treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy. During a complete eye care visit, our ophthalmologists thoroughly test all patients’ vision, dilate their pupils and examine each eye using state-of-the-art technology. If Diabetic Retinopathy is a possibility, there are several additional tests that can be performed to diagnose the existence and severity of Diabetic Retinopathy.