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October 10, 2022

What is Diabetic Retinopathy?

Diabetic retinopathy is a vision affliction that, while sometimes mild or asymptomatic, can lead to blindness. It is one of the most common causes of vision loss worldwide. Blood vessels in the retina become damaged and leak blood and other fluids into the eye’s interior. Risk factors increase in diabetics with less control over their blood sugar levels.

Symptoms include hemorrhaging, dark spots in vision (sometimes referred to as floaters), blurred or shifting vision, and even blindness.

There are two stages associated with diabetic retinopathy:

  • Early diabetic retinopathy (nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy)
  • Advanced diabetic retinopathy (proliferative diabetic retinopathy)

The early stage occurs when blood vessels in the retina weaken and leak into the eye. If left untreated, the damaged vessels become completely blocked off. New vessels grow during the advanced stage, but they are weaker and may continue to expel blood into the eye’s center.

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what is diabetic retinopathy?

What causes Diabetic Retinopathy?

Diabetes, both type 1 and type 2, can cause diabetic retinopathy. The longer a person has diabetes – and the higher their blood sugar levels – the more likely the issue will occur. And while diabetic retinopathy is preventable and treatable, partial or total blindness may result when left unchecked.

Risk factors for diabetics include:

  • Long-term diabetes
  • Tobacco use
  • Pregnancy
  • Anemia
  • High blood sugar levels

How to Prevent Diabetic Retinopathy

Alongside routine diabetic eye exams, the best way to prevent diabetic retinopathy is through control of diet and blood sugar levels. Because patients may start off without symptoms, it’s important to have an eye care routine with regular visits to an optometrist. The optometrists and healthcare professionals at Wisconsin Vision are here to provide you with the highest-quality care available.

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