Diabetic Retinopathy is a serious ocular complication of type 1 or type 2 diabetes that can cause blindness. It is the leading cause of blindness in people ages 20-74.
If you have Diabetes, your body does not use and store sugar properly. High blood-sugar levels can damage blood vessels in the retina, the nerve layer at the back of the eye that senses light and helps to send images to the brain. The damage to retinal vessels is referred to as Diabetic Retinopathy.
When the excess glucose reaches tiny blood vessels, or capillaries, in the retina it causes damage to the blood vessel walls. Damaged capillaries become inflamed, which makes vessel walls leaky or blocks blood flow. When the vessels are leaky, blood and fluid can seep into retinal tissue, which can cause vision loss or tissue damage. When the vessels are blocked, blood cannot reach retinal tissue to provide it with oxygen and tissue damage can also occur. In both scenarios, the retina is not getting enough oxygen.
There are two main types of Diabetic Retinopathy: Non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR) and proliferate diabetic retinopathy (PDR).
There are treatment options available for each of the stages of Diabetic Retinopathy:
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