Diabetic patients have bodies that don't process sugar correctly. High blood-sugar levels may damage the blood vessels of the retina, resulting in the possible loss of vision and a condition called diabetic retinopathy.
Nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy: This is a condition where the blood vessels in the retina leak, causing macular edema (swelling or thickening of the macula, resulting in central vision loss) or macular ischemia (the closing of capillaries causing blurry central vision due to a decrease in the blood supply to the macula).
Proliferative diabetic retinopathy: PDR occurs when the body grows abnormal new blood vessels on the retina or optic nerve in an attempt to increase blood flow. This can result in the development of scar tissue which may cause wrinkling or the detachment of the retina. PDR is considered more severe because it can result in the loss of both central and peripheral vision.
While some of these conditions may be treatable with laser procedures or microsurgeries, it is best to prevent the development of diabetic retinopathy. Consistent control of blood sugar levels vastly reduces the risk of developing this condition. Eye exams are very important for diabetic patients and should be scheduled with our office once a year. The early detection of retinopathy severely reduces the risk of any vision loss.