Some people with diabetes may start to notice multiple black spots in their vision and they seem to spread almost each day. When tested, these people are usually diagnosed with proliferative diabetic retinopathy; a type of eye condition that occurs when diabetes already sets in. Fortunately, they are able to back on track after undergoing multiple laser treatments and a few months of follow-up. But many other people with diabetes may neglect such a treatment although their vision already begins to decline noticeably. They may finally reach a critical stage where their situation is no longer reversible, causing them to depend on other people for daily chores. When untreated, diabetic retinopathy could progress to a stage where laser treatments and even surgical procedures are unable to restore their vision.
Many diabetics have turned irreversibly blind because of this eye condition. Without proper diet and lifestyle changes, this could represent a serious threat for diabetics who want to maintain their quality of life. Due to poor lifestyle, diabetes has started to strike younger people and this could lead to more chronic complications later. In fact, diabetic retinopathy is considered as one of the major causes of blindness in many countries. Diabetes is a slow killer and it doesn’t spare any organ in our body. People who have diabetic retinopathy may already reach a stage where some of their organs, including kidney, have been affected.
All people who have diabetes are vulnerable to diabetic retinopathy, especially if they fail to control their condition with insulin, tablets and diet. Their risk is greater if they have had symptoms of diabetes for many years. To prevent diabetic retinopathy, experts advise patients to control their insulin treatment and blood pressure. Overall, the risk of diabetic retinopathy can be reduced if we look after our diabetes. The retina in our eyes is one of most delicate parts in our body and it is continuously nourished by blood that flows through veins and arteries. Macula is the central part of our retina that’s responsible for ensuring clear vision, allowing us to read this article right now.
Unless it already reaches a more advanced stage, diabetic retinopathy shouldn’t cause immediate loss of sight. But patients should be aware if they start to see spots, see wavy lines, feel blurring and experience decrease in overall vision. Diabetic retinopathy may affect our vision in multiple ways. There are stages of the condition that we should be aware of. Initially, tiny blood vessel on the retina could burst resulting in bleeding and dark spots on the eye; or vitreous hemorrhage. In the next stage, membranes could form on the retina and pull the retina, resulting in a condition called tractional retinal detachment. Also, holes could be creates or rhegmatogenous retinal detachment. In more serious cases, both conditions could happen simultaneously, or called the combined retinal detachment. On the other hand, diabetic retinopathy could cause lipids and fluids to accumulate on the central part of the retina, which is the most sensitive. This condition is called macular edema. Retinal laser treatments are only a saviour when performed on early stages, before the condition is no longer reversible.
Dark spots could be removed by lasers, but retinal detachment and more serious bleeding could only be addressed with surgery. People with macular edema may require both intravitreal injections and laser treatments. With early diagnosis and proper monitoring and treatment, it is possible avert most symptoms of diabetic retinopathy.
Doctors require only ten minutes to know whether patients have diabetic retinopathy. Therefore, it is advisable for people with diabetes to check their eyes regularly even if they still experience a healthy vision. There’s little use of having diabetes effectively controlled if patients have significantly degraded eyesight. Cessation of smoking, hypertension control, kidney care, strictly healthy diet, exercise and periodic eye evaluation could prevent the onset of such a condition. We have only a couple of eyes to enjoy the world and it’s our responsibility to protect them.