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Diabetes and eye disease

Diabetes can cause eye problems and may lead to sudden blindness. Diabetes is associated with increased problems with cataract, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy.

Regular check ups can help identify serious problems in the early stages when it can be treated easily and prevent sudden blindness. Your retina can be badly damaged before you notice any change in vision. Most people with retinopathy have no symptoms until it is too late to treat them. For this reason, you should have your eyes examined regularly by an eye care professional.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is a general term for all disorders of the retina caused by diabetes. It progresses in stages.

Various stages of diabetic retinopathy are:

  • Nonproliferative retinopathy
  • Macular edema
  • Proliferative retinopathy

How is it treated?

Huge strides have been made in the treatment of diabetic retinopathy. The sooner retinopathy is diagnosed; the more likely these treatments will be successful. The best results occur when sight is still normal. Treatments such as scatter photocoagulation, focal photocoagulation, and vitrectomy prevent blindness in most people.

There are two types of treatment for macular edema: focal laser therapy that slows the leakage of fluid, and medications that can be injected into the eye that slow the growth of new blood vessels and reduce the leakage of fluid into the macula.

Am I at Risk for Retinopathy?

Several factors influence whether you get retinopathy:

  • Blood sugar control. People who keep their blood sugar levels closer to normal are less likely to have retinopathy or to have milder forms.
  • Blood pressure levels
  • How long you have had diabetes. The longer you've had diabetes, the more likely you are to have retinopathy.
  • Genes

So, most important thing is good blood sugar and BP control. Next is regular check ups (once a year) to pick up eye problems in early stages. Prevention is the key…..