Diabetic Eye Disease
People with diabetes are particularly at risk for diabetic retinopathy, a severe condition where irregular blood sugar damages blood vessels connected to the retina. As blood vessels deteriorate, they may begin to swell and burst, leaking fluid into the eye. The leakages can block vision and may lead to serious vision loss and even blindness.
There are 2 stages of diabetic retinopathy:
- Non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy
- Proliferative diabetic retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy can be very serious. Symptoms of the condition include:
- Increased number of “floaters” in your field of vision
- Blurred or distorted vision
- Blank or dark areas in your field of vision
- Poor night vision
Another high-risk issue for people with diabetes is the possibility of retinal tears caused by elevated intraocular pressure. As the fluid builds up and has no avenue of escape, it begins to exert outward pressure that can, if left untreated, cause the retina to tear away from the eye.
Diabetic Macular Edema (DME)
A buildup of fluid in the central part of the retina, called the macula, is called macular edema. The fluid buildup causes the macula to swell and thicken, causing distorted and blurred vision.
The abnormal blood vessels that grow as a result of diabetic retinopathy can block fluid from draining out of the eye. The fluid, unable to drain, causes the pressure inside the eye to rise, damaging the optic nerve and causing what’s referred to as neovascular glaucoma.
Early detection of eye disease is crucial to applying a schedule of treatment. The earlier any condition can be caught, the more that can be done to reverse or mitigate the impact of the disease.
In fact, in clinical reports from the Canadian National Institute of the Blind, with early and prompt diagnosis, 75% of vision loss issues are preventable or able to be managed to maintain sight.