Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic Retinopathy

This condition name “Diabetic retinopathy” is characterized by damage to the retina caused by severe complications of diabetes mellitus. Diabetic retinopathy can lead to blindness if not treated on time. It is possible to prevent early blindness because of diabetic retinopathy with the help of routine checks and effective management of underlying diabetes.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic Retinopathy

Facts related to Diabetic retinopathy:

This condition is damage to a blood vessel in the retina because of high blood sugar and this condition leads to blindness. 
Diabetic retinopathy has become the leading cause of blindness in the united states.
A person suffering from diabetes must have their vision checked at least annually to prevent diabetic retinopathy.
Symptoms in diabetic retinopathy include blurred vision, floaters, difficulty in seeing and even total loss of vision. 
There are facilities for retinal surgeries that will help you to relieve symptoms. But the best and most effective way to prevent diabetic retinopathy is controlling diabetes and managing early symptoms. 

What is diabetic retinopathy?

Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes and it is the leading cause of blindness. 

The retina is a membrane of the eye that covers its back. This membrane is highly sensitive to light. The retina is a membrane that converts any light that hits the eye into signals and these signals can be interpreted by the brain. In this way, there is the production of visual images. It is how retina playing significant sight function in the human eye. 

Diabetic retinopathy causes damage to blood vessels of the retinal tissue and thus causing them to leak fluid and distort vision. 

Diabetic retinopathy can be categorized into two types:

Non-Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR): It is considered as a milder form of diabetic retinopathy and this condition is mainly asymptomatic. 
Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR): Another type of diabetic retinopathy is proliferative type and it is the most advanced stage of diabetic retinopathy. This condition leads to the formation of new and abnormal blood vessels in the retina

It is approximated that 5.4 percent of people above 40 years in the United States are diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy.

Worldwide, about one-third of the estimated population with diabetes are showing symptoms of diabetic retinopathy. 

Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy:

In the milder stage of diabetic retinopathy, there are no symptoms. But at an advanced stage, the symptoms of diabetic retinopathy become noticeable. Sometimes, the only detectable symptom of diabetic retinopathy is a sudden and complete loss of vision. 

There may be blurred vision
There may be an impairment of color vision.
The patient may notice floaters or transparent and colorless spots or dark strings that float in the field of their vision. 
You may notice patches or streaks that block your vision. 
Patients with diabetic retinopathy will have poor night vision. 
The most terrible symptom of diabetic retinopathy is a sudden loss of total vision.  

Diabetic retinopathy mainly affects both eyes. If you are having the risk of diabetic retinopathy or suffering from diabetes, then it is very essential to make sure that you have minimized the risk of vision loss. The only way by which you can prevent diabetic retinopathy is to attend every eye examination that is scheduled by your doctor. 

Complications related to diabetic retinopathy

Here we are listing some possible complications that are associated with diabetic retinopathy and these are:

Vitreous hemorrhage: 

Due to diabetic retinopathy, the newly formed blood vessel may leak into the vitreous gel that fills the eye and this condition stops light from reaching the retina. 
The patient will notice a loss of vision and sensitivity to light or person with DR may also notice floaters in milder cases.   
This complication will solve itself if retina stays undamaged. 

Detached retina:

There may be the formation of scar tissue that can pull the retina away from the back of the eye. 
The patient will notice the appearance of floating spots in your field of vision. The patient may also notice flashes of light and severe vision loss. 
This condition leads to significant risk to total vision loss if left without treatment. 


Due to the formation of the new blood vessels, it may block the normal flow of fluid in the eye
This blockage causes an increase in ocular pressure or an increase in pressure in the eye. 
This condition will increase the risk of optic nerve damage and vision loss

Causes and risk factors

Any person with diabetes is having a risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. However, there are some risk factors that further increase its probability:

A patient who does not control its sugar levels.
A patient who is suffering from high blood pressure.
A person with a high cholesterol level.
In the case of pregnancy.
A person who smokes regularly.
A patient who is suffering from diabetes for a long time. 

The key cause of diabetic retinopathy is damage to the network of blood vessels that are nourishing retina. 

An increase in blood glucose level than normal damages these blood vessels and restricts the flow of blood to the retina.

In milder cases, there may be tiny bulges in the vessel wall that occasionally leak blood without affecting vision. 

But in severe cases, these blood vessels may completely be blocked. Now the eye will develop less stable blood vessels. These new blood vessels break easily and leak into vitreous gel of the eye. This bleeding causes blurred and patchy vision. 

Sometimes, on bleeding, there is the formation of a scar that separates retina and the eye leading to detached retina condition. A person with detached retina likely to experience complete vision loss. 


Treatment of diabetic retinopathy depends on the severity and type of DR.

With non-proliferative DR, generally, the doctor decides to monitor the person’s eyes closed without intervening. This treatment is known as watchful waiting. 

In NPDR, the patient needs to work with their doctor to control and manage diabetes. Blood sugar at a normal level will significantly slow the development of diabetic retinopathy.

In the case of proliferative diabetic retinopathy, there may be a requirement of immediate surgery. 

Prevention of diabetic retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is an inevitable consequence for the majority of people with diabetes. However, a person, who successfully manages their blood glucose level will be successful to prevent the onset of the severe form of diabetic retinopathy.
A person with diabetes must eat healthily.
The patient must do regular exercise.
The patient must maintain a healthy body weight.
A person should strictly control alcohol intake.
There must be a cessation of smoking.
Regular checkups

 Final words:
In the last, the only thing I want to say is prevention is the best way and early detection of symptoms will improve the effectiveness of treatment.