Diabetic retinopathy: causes, prevention and treatment

Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in American adults and the most common ocular disease associated with diabetes, according to the National Eye Institute.

The frightening thing about diabetic retinopathy is that there aren't always symptoms or noticeable changes in vision. However, the condition can get progressively worse over time and cause irreversible damage to one or both eyes.

Causes

Changes in blood sugar, blood pressure and blood cholesterol due to diabetes can cause retinopathy.

Fragile blood vessels can develop leaks, which can blur vision and cause swelling in the eye. With the progression of the disease, blood vessels that provide nourishment to the retina are blocked.

The blurred vision and swelling can eventually causes total blindness, if left untreated.

Both individuals with type 1 and type 2 diabetes are at risk for diabetic retinopathy.

Prevention

The best way to prevent diabetic-related eye disease is to have a vision exam at least once a year. People with poor vision or a history of eye problems may need to have checkups more frequently.

Your eye doctor will be able to tell if you have any type of damage in the eyes and if you are in the beginning states of diabetic retinopathy.

If you already have the condition, you may need more frequent eyes exams to prevent the retinopathy from getting worse.

Treatment

According to the National Eye Institute, controlling blood sugar levels is one of the best ways to slow the onset and progression of diabetic retinopathy. This helps prevent nerve damage in general and can reduce the need for laser surgery to save your eyesight later on.

Other research suggests that maintaining healthy levels of blood pressure and cholesterol can reduce your risk of vision problems.

If these changes don't help, diabetic retinopathy is often treated with laser surgery, which helps to slow the leakage of fluid into the eyes and reduces swelling in the retina.

Drugs like Lucentis, Avastin or Eylea may also help to promote eye health and reduce ocular fluid leakage.

Source: National Eye Institute

Get a Free Diabetes Meal Plan

Get a free 7-Day Diabetes Meal Plan from Constance Brown-Riggs who is a Registered Dietitian-Certified Diabetes Educator and who is also a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

Just enter in your email below to download your free Diabetes Meal Plan.

By clicking Submit, you agree to send your info to InformationAboutDiabetes.com who may contact you with updates and information and we agree to use it according to our privacy policy.

More Articles

Limiting our intake of highly processed foods, and eating more whole and lightly processed fare can boost our nutrient and fiber intake, lower...

Chamomile tea has long been prized for its calming properties, but few people realize it’s also beneficial for glucose regulation. Traditionally,...

Today, the healing benefits of essential oils are more than the claims of ancient tradition and alternative medicine. They are increasingly the...

The different sugar content of fruits can be confusing when you are trying to manage your...

There is nothing close to a one-size-fits-all exercise program for those with diabetic peripheral neuropathy. The best general advice is to...

More Articles

With such a marked increase in the number of new diabetes cases, more people are wondering if type 1 diabetes...

Keeping your blood sugar levels under control can be tough. There are so many factors that can affect blood sugar, like exercise, food, illness,...

Today, the healing benefits of essential oils are more than the claims of ancient tradition and alternative medicine. They are increasingly the...

Stomach aches and other gastrointestinal pains can be signs of a bigger problem. One such problem for diabetics is gastroparesis, or delayed...

Two of the most common symptoms of diabetes are increased thirst and increased urine production. These symptoms are so prevalent in diabetics that...

While some celebrities aren't quick to talk about living with diabetes, others are quite transparent and inspiring - acting as advocates for the...

People with diabetes are about twice as likely to experience heart disease as those without the condition, making cardiovascular health a critical...

All diabetics know that maintaining proper blood sugar levels is the lifeline...

Pilates is an exercise method proven to improve flexibility, strength, coordination, muscular stamina, balance, and posture. Many Pilates...

It can be difficult enough to get on stage and make a roomful of strangers laugh, but for comedians suffering from type 1 or type 2 diabetes,...

Most people with insulin-dependent diabetes use syringes and lancets every day. However, many of them do not know how to dispose of these...

People with type 1 and type 2 diabetes have successfully competed in the Olympic Games. Their amazing stories prove that diabetes is no match for...

Explaining diabetes to children can seem like a daunting task, but in reality, it is no more difficult than discussing anything else important....

Diabetes is a complex disease, affecting virtually every part of the body. The damage it does, to nerve endings, blood vessels, organs, and the...

If your child has diabetes, you want him or her to be safe while in school and to have the same educational opportunities as other children....