Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that develops when your body doesn’t produce enough insulin or it becomes unresponsive to the hormone’s effects. Since insulin is needed to process glucose in your body, diabetes can cause sugar molecules to remain in your blood cells, causing your blood to thicken. This may cause various organ complications over time, including diabetic retinopathy.
Read on as Shady Grove Eye and Vision Care, your trusted provider of quality contact lenses and other eye care services and products, discusses diabetic eye disease in detail.
How Diabetic Retinopathy Happens
Uncontrolled diabetes causes sugar to build up in your blood. As a result, your blood may become more viscous, leading to sluggish blood flow to your eyes. This means not enough oxygen and nutrients reach your retina, impairing its function. Without prompt treatment, this can result in vision loss.
How It Affects Your Eyesight
Your eye doctor explains that diabetic retinopathy symptoms vary depending on the stage of the disease. During the early or non-proliferative phase, changes to your vision are rare. As the condition progresses, the walls of the blood vessels in your retina weaken, leading to the formation of tiny bulges known as microaneurysms, which can rupture easily. Fluids may leak into your macula, causing it to swell. Since the macula plays a big role in your central vision, you may slowly notice dark spots in your visual field and you may experience blurry eyesight.
The advanced or proliferative stage is marked by significantly reduced blood flow to your eyes. Your retina may be severely deprived of the oxygen and nutrients it needs to complete the image translation process. Although new blood vessels may grow, their weak nature makes them break easily, causing blood to accumulate in the vitreous, the gel-like sac at the back of your eye.
You may develop cloudy vision during this phase. Your peripheral and central visual acuity may be compromised eventually as well. If left unmanaged, vision loss may be unavoidable. The best way to avoid these symptoms is to visit your optometrist for an eye exam. Diabetic individuals or those who have a family history of this condition are recommended to undergo one at least once a year to help in the prompt detection of this condition.
Call us today at (301) 859-4060 or complete our form to request an appointment. We serve Washington, DC, Arlington, VA, and nearby areas. Watch out for the last part of this special blog to learn how diabetic retinopathy is managed.