A photograph of a normal retina.
A photgraph of a retina with Diabetic Retinopathy. Notice the growth of new blood vessels growing to compensate for weakend vessels.
Having Diabetes can be difficult to manage. You are constantly monitoring glucose levels, thinking of meal plans, insulin or other medications. You may not be aware of another concern, your eyes. No matter what type of diabetes you have you could develop a condition called diabetic retinopathy.
Diabetes can weaken your body's blood vessels. The blood vessels in your eye are tiny and delicate, they are susceptible to weakening. This deterioration of your retinal blood vessels is called diabetic retinopathy. There are two types:
Non-proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy - The blood vessels in your retina may be leaking, closed, or a combination of both. At this stage, there may be no vision loss.
Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy - At this stage new blood vessels have started to grow to try and compensate for the weak or closed blood vessels. These new vessels may rupture and bleed into the vitreous. With the new blood vessels and scarring growing from the retina onto the vitreous, the vitreous may pull on the retina and detach it. Vision loss at this stage can be from mild to severe.
It’s much better to monitor and manage the condition of the eyes yearly than it is to wait for damage to occur, because prevention is possible if there is adequate warning. In order to be safe and proactive, every diabetic should have a yearly dilated fundus study (an examination of the retina) with photographs that become a permanent part of the record and help to identify yearly changes early on.