Symptoms and Causes of Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic Retinopathy is an eye condition caused by diabetes. It affects the tiny blood vessels within the retina, leading to vision loss and blindness in severe cases. Diabetic Retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness among working-age adults in the United States.

High blood sugar is the main cause of Diabetic Retinopathy. Long-term, unregulated blood sugar levels cause damage to the fine blood vessels within the retina. This damage can cause blood vessels to leak, swell and even close off, leading to vision issues.

High blood pressure is also a major risk factor for Diabetic Retinopathy. High blood pressure damages the blood vessels in the body, including those in the eyes, making them more prone to damage from high blood sugar levels. Uncontrolled blood pressure can increase the risk of developing Diabetic Retinopathy, and can also worsen the condition once it has already developed.

Diabetes duration is also an important factor. The longer a person has had diabetes, the more likely they are to develop Diabetic Retinopathy. The risk increases after five years of having diabetes and continues to increase the longer a person has diabetes. Poorly controlled blood sugar levels, high blood pressure and smoking are also risk factors that increase a person’s risk of developing Diabetic Retinopathy.

Diabetic Retinopathy can lead to permanent vision loss and blindness if left untreated. It’s important for people with diabetes to have regular eye exams to detect any vision changes that could indicate that Diabetic Retinopathy is present. Managing blood sugar, blood pressure and other risk factors can help reduce the risk of developing Diabetic Retinopathy, and seeking prompt treatment can help prevent vision loss.

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