Disease of the Retina/Vitreous: Diabetic Retinopathy
What is Diabetic Retinopathy?
Diabetic Retinopathy is a potentially blinding complication of diabetes that damages the eye’s retina, which is the lining at the back of the eye that is responsible for vision. The disease affects half of all Americans diagnosed with diabetes. You may not notice any changes in your vision initially, because early symptoms can be subtle, and tend to get worse over the years. With proper treatment, however, people with the advanced form of diabetic retinopathy have a 90 percent chance of saving their vision.
There are two forms of Diabetic Retinopathy
- Non-proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy – This occurs when tiny retinal blood vessels are damaged by diabetes and begin to leak fluid or blood. If this leakage is in the macula, the central vision part of the retina, the macula swells and causes vision loss.
- Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy – New, but fragile blood vessels grow along the retina and in the clear, gel-like vitreous that fills the inside of the eye. Without timely treatment, these new blood vessels can bleed, scar, cloud vision, and destroy the retina. Proliferative diabetic retinopathy can affect both central and peripheral (side) vision and may cause severe vision loss.