- How it Works
April 3, 2019
Diabetic retinopathy is the most common type of diabetic eye disease. When someone has this condition, this means their high blood sugar levels have caused damage to the blood vessels in the retina (the lining in the back of your eye which translates light into images for your brain). If this disease is left untreated for too long, it can cause blindness.
According to the National Eye Institute, there are four key stages:
Initially, you may not experience any symptoms. As diabetic retinopathy progresses, you will likely see spots which look like floating pieces of cotton. If these spots clear up on their own, this does not indicate that the disease has passed—the retinal blood vessels often begin to bleed again and can cause permanent blindness.
Anyone experiencing Type I, Type II, or gestational diabetes is at risk for developing diabetic retinopathy. Your eye doctor can conduct a comprehensive dilated eye exam to test for diabetic retinopathy.
The National Eye Institute recommends individuals with diabetes schedule an annual comprehensive dilated eye exam with their ophthalmologist. Women with diabetes should immediately schedule this exam if they become pregnant. You should also do your best to keep your blood glucose level, blood pressure, and cholesterol as close to normal as possible to help prevent diabetic retinopathy from developing.
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