Diabetic Retinopathy is a condition that manifest in people who have diabetes. It is caused when high blood sugar levels damages the blood vessels in the retina. This causes blood vessels to leak resulting in haemorrhages or to stop blood flow to the retina. When blood flow to the retina decreases new tiny blood vessels can form that is dangerous to the whole eye. This can cause cloudy or blurry vision that may lead to vision loss. If this condition is left untreated it may cause complete blindness.
Early stages of diabetic retinopathy may present with no symptoms thus being very important to go for regular eye examinations. Later stages of diabetic retinopathy include; an increase number of floaters (blurry spots moving around in your field of view), blurry vision, fluctuating vision, poor night vision, blank/dark areas in your field of vision, colours that are harder to distinguish – presenting with a washed out appearance.
Early detection, timely treatment, and appropriate follow-up care in diabetic patients are very important to protect against vision loss. Women who are pregnant and diabetic should consult their nearest optometrist as soon as possible, additional testing during the course of the pregnancy may be required to monitor any possible changes.
If you are a diabetic help to prevent or slow the development of diabetic retinopathy by taking prescribed medication, exercising, diet, controlling high blood pressure and try to avoid smoking and alcohol use.