Diabetic Eye Disease
Diabetic eye disease refers to a group of eye conditions that occur due to uncontrolled diabetes. Over time, diabetes can cause significant damage to your ocular health and vision. In some cases, uncontrolled diabetes can lead to blindness.
Some of the best ways to prevent diabetic eye disease are to:
- Undergo a comprehensive eye exam at least once a year.
- Manage your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol.
- Quit smoking and exercise regularly.
Diabetic retinopathy is a degenerative eye disease that occurs when unregulated blood glucose levels damage the tiny blood vessels in the back of the eye. When these blood vessels are damaged, they can swell, burst, and leak fluids into the eye. Fluid leakage can cause scarring, block vision, and increase pressure inside the eye.
The early stage of diabetic retinopathy, called nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy, occurs when the blood vessels weaken, bulge, or leak into the retina.
In more advanced stages, called proliferative diabetic retinopathy, the blood vessels close off, causing new, abnormal vessels to grow on the surface of the retina. This stage of diabetic retinopathy is serious and can lead to permanent vision loss and even blindness.
Diabetic macular edema often happens as a result of untreated diabetic retinopathy. When the damaged blood vessels leak fluid into the eye, it causes surrounding tissues to swell, including the macula. The macula is the central-most part of the retina and is responsible for your central vision. This swelling can lead to central vision loss.