Diabetes is a condition that has swept over the world. It is the leading cause of renal failure as well as causing millions of deaths each year. But, did you know that diabetes also can have devastating effects on your vision?
Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in adults. Why is this the case? Some of the long-term complications that commonly result from diabetes include glaucoma, cataracts, and diabetic retinopathy. These all contribute to blindness. In fact, one in three individuals who suffer from diabetes will end up with retinopathy and one in 10 people will have some level of vision impairment due to their diabetes. With diabetes having such a profound effect on vision throughout the populous, it is important to know what to look for and what you can do about it. Let’s examine a few of the health risks to your eyes that are commonly associated with diabetes.
Nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy (also known as “background retinopathy”) is the most common form of retinopathy related to diabetes. This condition causes the blood vessels in the back of the eye to leak blood or other fluid. Quite often, if the conditions are identified early enough, people who have background retinopathy may suffer no noticeable symptoms.
If patients with Nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy are not treated early enough, the leaking fluid may permeate to the retina, causing it to swell. This is called “macular edema.” When this happens, it will cause blurry vision and possibly a total loss of eyesight.
The word “proliferative” in this case refers to whether or not new blood vessels are proliferating – that is, “being generated.” Proliferative diabetic retinopathy thus refers to the growth of new, fragile blood vessels that form in the back of the eye. These vessels have very thin walls that tend to leak fluids into the back of the eye. This almost certainly results in cloudy vision even to the point of completely obstructing it. Though this condition is more severe than the others mentioned, there are usually no symptoms until the damage is irreparable.
For those who may be in the beginning stages of nonproliferative retinopathy, treatments are available to protect you from developing more serious conditions. If you have diabetes and live in the greater Mississauga, ON area book an appointment with us today!