Diabetic eye disease refers to a group of eye problems that
people with diabetes may face as a complication of
diabetes. All can cause severe vision loss or even
Diabetic retinopathy is the most common diabetic eye disease
and a leading cause of blindness in American adults. It is
caused by changes in the blood vessels of the retina.
In some people with diabetic retinopathy, blood vessels may
swell and leak fluid. In other people, abnormal new blood
vessels grow on the surface of the retina. The retina is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of
the eye. A healthy retina is necessary for good vision.
If you have diabetic retinopathy, at first you may not notice changes to your vision. But over
time, diabetic retinopathy can get worse and cause vision loss. Diabetic retinopathy usually
affects both eyes.
Diabetic retinopathy has four stages:
- Mild Nonproliferative Retinopathy. At this earliest stage, microaneurysms occur. They are
small areas of balloon-like swelling in the retina's tiny blood vessels.
- Moderate Nonproliferative Retinopathy. As the disease progresses, some blood vessels
that nourish the retina are blocked.
- Severe Nonproliferative Retinopathy. Many more blood vessels are blocked, depriving
several areas of the retina with their blood supply. These areas of the retina send signals
to the body to grow new blood vessels for nourishment.
- Proliferative Retinopathy. At this advanced stage, the signals sent by the retina for
nourishment trigger the growth of new blood vessels. This condition is called
proliferative retinopathy. These new blood vessels are abnormal and fragile. They grow
along the retina and along the surface of the clear, vitreous gel that fills the inside of the
eye. By themselves, these blood vessels do not cause symptoms or vision loss. However,
they have thin, fragile walls. If they leak blood, severe vision loss and even blindness can
Blood vessels damaged from diabetic retinopathy can cause vision loss.
All people with diabetes, both type 1 and type 2, are at risk. That's why everyone with diabetes
should get a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year. The longer someone has
diabetes, the more likely he or she will get diabetic retinopathy. Between 40 to 45 percent of
Americans diagnosed with diabetes have some stage of diabetic retinopathy. If you have
diabetic retinopathy, Dr. Camp can recommend treatment to help prevent its progression.
Often there are no symptoms in the early stages of the disease, nor is there any pain. Don't wait
for symptoms. Be sure to have a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year.
|With Diabetic Retinopathy
|150 Interstate South Drive
Jasper, Georgia 30143