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Disease Spotlight

 

Today’s disease spotlight is Diabetic Retinopathy.

What is Diabetic Retinopathy?  Diabetic Retinopathy is a disease that is caused by changes in the blood vessels in the retina. It is the most common diabetic eye disease and one of the leading causes of blindness in American adults.

There are 4 stages:

  1. Mild Nonproliferative Retinopathy– Small areas of balloon like swelling in the retina’s blood vessels.
  2. Moderate Nonproliferative Retinopathy–  Some blood vessels that nourish the retina are blocked.
  3. Severe Nonproliferative Retinopathy– More blood vessels are blocked which deprive areas of the retina of their blood supplies.
  4. Proliferative Retinopathy– The retina grows new blood vessels, but the blood vessels have thin fragile walls and if they leak blood then it can cause severe vision loss and even blindness.

Who is at risk?

Anyone who has Type I or Type II diabetes are at risk. Also, women who are pregnant and have diabetes, diabetic retinopathy may be a problem for them. If you are at risk for diabetic retinopathy, get your comprehensive exam once a year to prevent any progression.

 How is it treated?

 There is no treatment for the first three stages. To prevent diabetic retinopathy, people with diabetes should control their blood sugar, blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels.  If you reach stage four, a laser surgery called scatter laser treatment is done to shrink the abnormal blood vessels.

Do you struggle with diabetic retinopathy, or have a loved one that does? Please feel free to ask us any questions, or share any experiences below!

 

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