According to Prevent Blindness America, roughly 7.7 million Americans suffer from diabetic retinopathy (DR), a condition that results from diabetes and directly affects the blood vessels within the eye’s retina. If diabetic retinopathy is present, blood and fluid will leak into the retina which causes vision loss or blindness. Important takeaways of this blog include:
- Yearly eye exams are necessary if you have diabetes so your eye doctor can catch or rule out diabetic retinopathy.
- Retinal eye surgeries may be recommended if managing your diabetes does not work.
- Common symptoms of diabetic retinopathy include floaters, blurriness, distorted vision, trouble seeing colors, or blindness.
Allow us to explain the two types of diabetic retinopathy and how it leads to vision loss or blindness:
Type 1: Non-Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (NPDR)
Non-Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (NPDR) is the most common type of DR that afflicts people worldwide. It is labeled non-proliferative because there is no growth in the eye’s blood vessels, which is a good thing. Many doctors consider this the early stage of DR, so it’s vital to manage the condition even if abnormal growths are not forming.
So, what is happening in non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy? This type of DR causes the blood vessels in your retina to weaken, resulting in fluid and blood to leak into the retina. Swelling can also occur which damages your retina and leads to vision loss.
Type 2: Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (PDR)
Proliferative diabetic retinopathy is named as such because of the formation of blood vessel growth in the retina. Once the disease passed the NPDR stage, the blood vessels begin to close off which forces new blood vessels to form inside the retina. As with NPDR, proliferative diabetic retinopathy can also cause blood and fluid to leak into your retina.
Scar tissue is a real concern with those who suffer from PDR, as the eyes are trying to heal from the blood vessels closing. This scar tissue can force retina detachment. Other issues that may surface include pressure buildup and optic nerve damage. If you have diabetes or experience any of the symptoms listed above, talk to an eye doctor immediately: 478-923-5872