Patients with diabetes are more likely to develop eye problems such as cataracts and glaucoma, but the greatest concern is the possible effect diabetes can have on the retina known as “Diabetic Retinopathy.” Diabetic Retinopathy occurs when high blood sugar levels cause damage to the blood vessels of the retina. These blood vessels can swell and leak, or they can close, limiting circulation to the retina. Leaky blood vessels can cause swelling in the macular part of the retina, causing what is known as “macular edema”, and lead to vision loss. If the retinal vessels close off, areas of the retina can become oxygen deprived, which is called “ischemia”, and can cause significant vision loss. In more advanced stages of diabetic retinopathy, new tiny fragile blood vessels can develop, and is known as “neovascularization.” These new blood vessels are prone to bleeding and can cause scar tissue to form in the retina, causing severe vision loss, and can lead to a retinal detachment.
If you have diabetes, be sure to have regular eye exams. Diabetic Retinopathy may be found even before you have any changes in vision.
To learn more about Diabetic Eye Disease, click here.