Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy involves changes to retinal blood vessels that can cause them to bleed or leak fluid, distorting vision. It is the most common cause of vision loss among people with diabetes and a leading cause of blindness among working-age adults. Diabetic retinopathy often has no early warning signs.

 

What causes diabetic retinopathy?

Chronically high blood sugar from diabetes is associated with damage to the tiny blood vessels in the retina, leading to diabetic retinopathy.

This can cause blood vessels in the retina to leak fluid or hemorrhage (bleed), distorting vision.

In its most advanced stage, new abnormal blood vessels proliferate (increase in number) on the surface of the retina, which can lead to scarring and cell loss in the retina.

Diabetic retinopathy may progress through four stages:

 

◦Mild nonproliferative retinopathy.

 

◦Moderate nonproliferative retinopathy

 

◦Severe nonproliferative retinopathy.

 

◦Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR).

 

 

 

Who is at risk for Diabetic retinopathy?

People with all types of diabetes (type 1, type 2, and gestational) are at risk for diabetic retinopathy. Risk increases the longer a person has diabetes. Between 40 and 45 percent of Americans diagnosed with diabetes have some stage of diabetic retinopathy, although only about half are aware of it. Women who develop or have diabetes during pregnancy may have rapid onset or worsening of diabetic retinopathy.

Risk Factors of Untreated Diabetic Retinopathy?

Untreated Diabetic retinopathy will lead to permanent loss of vision.

Each year in the United States, diabetic retinopathy accounts for 12% of all new cases of blindness. It is also the leading cause of blindness for people aged 20 to 64 years