Diabetic Retinopathy: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
Diabetic retinopathy is a disease that damages the blood vessels in the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. Diabetes also increases the risk of glaucoma, cataracts, and other eye problems.
Signs and Symptoms
The most common symptom of diabetic retinopathy is blurred vision. Other symptoms may include:
- Floaters: These are small, dark spots or lines that float in your field of vision.
- Shadows or missing areas of vision.
- Problem seeing at night.
The main causes of diabetic retinopathy are:
- High blood sugar levels: This can damage the blood vessels in the retina.
- Long-term diabetes: The longer you have diabetes, the more likely you are to develop diabetic retinopathy.
- Improper diabetes management: This includes not taking your medication as prescribed, not eating a healthy diet, and not exercising regularly.
The goal of treatment for diabetic retinopathy is to prevent vision loss. Treatment options include:
- Laser surgery: This can be used to seal off leaking blood vessels and prevent them from damaging the retina.
- Injections of steroids or anti-VEGF medications: These medications can help reduce swelling in the retina.
- Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be needed to remove scar tissue or blood clots from the eye.
The best way to prevent diabetic retinopathy is to keep your blood sugar levels under control. You can also help prevent diabetic retinopathy by:
- Eating a healthy diet.
- Exercising regularly.
- Quitting smoking.
- Controlling your blood pressure.
- Getting regular eye exams.
If you have diabetes, it is important to have regular eye exams to check for diabetic retinopathy. Early detection and treatment can help prevent vision loss.