Diabetes Retinopathy Causes Blindness In Diabetics

Diabetes retinopathy is most likely to occur in individuals that have had diabetes for a long time without knowing it. However statics show that there are approximately 40 to 45 percent of all individuals that been diagnosed with onset diabetes in the United States , may have or will develop diabetic retinopathy at some point in their lives.

Diabetic retinopathy is the most common of all eye diseases diagnosed among individuals with either type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes.

It is also the most leading cause for partial or complete blindness in these individuals. People that have diabetes normally experience an eye disease that is usually associated with diabetes complications. All of which can cause serious loss of vision or in some cases complete blindness.

Diabetic Eye Diseases That Can Affect Your Vision

Eye diseases that are medically known and experienced by diabetics include the following:

    Diabetes retinopathy This means that if you have diabetes, you now have monitor the blood vessels in the retina of your eye/s that have become damaged due to your disease.
  • Cataracts
  • This particular eye disease causes cloudiness over the lenses of your eyes. Diabetics have to pay close attention to this particular eye disease because it can develop rather quickly in people that have diabetes.
  • Glaucoma
  • This disease of the eye, develops as a result of increase pressure of the fluid that is present in the eyes. This pressure which is medically known as intraocular pressure leads to severe damage of the optic nerves in the eyes and eventually causes severe vision loss.

    An individual with diabetes is more likely to develop glaucoma disease quicker than someone that does not have the disease.

Stages Of Diabetes Retinopathy

There are four known stages of retinopathy that affects the eyes of diabetics. They are as follows:

  • Mild Nonproliferative Retinopathy
  • This is an early stage of the disease that causes microaneurysms to occur. Microaneurysms are small areas of the tiny blood vessels in the retina that swell up to little ballon like shapes.
  • Moderate Non-prolifertive Retinopathy
  • This is where progression of the disease causes the tiny blood vessels that supply the retina with its nourishment to become blocked.
  • Severe Non-proliferative Retinopathy
  • At this stage of the disease, many more of the small blood vessels become blocked or damaged. Consequently, several areas of the retina is now deprived of blood supply which mean that the eye receives no oxygen or nourishment .

    These areas of our retinas are responsible for signaling our bodies to grow new blood vessels that will be responsible for the nurishment to the eyes.

  • Proliferative Retinopathy
  • This is the more advanced stage of diabetes retinopathy. At this point, signals are sent by the retina for more nourishment which triggers the growth of more blood vessels. Because this is the advance stage of retinopathy, these new blood vessels are abnormal and very fragile.

    During this advance stage of diabetic retinopathy, the abnormal blood vessels grow on the surface of the retina and because they are so weak, they can burst and bleed into the eye. Because of this bleeding, cloudy vision and scarred tissue is the result.

    Scarred tissue in the eye can become severe and put considerable strain on the retina which eventually lead to detachment of the retina. Once this happens, an individual with diabetes retinopathy may experience severe vision loss or worst, complete blindness.

Video On How Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Is Done

Treatment Of Diabetes Retinopathy

Unless you have macular edema, no treatment is required for the early stages of retinopathy. However to prevent or control the progression of the disease, individuals that have diabetes should take care of themselves through proper management of their...

  • Blood glucose.
  • Blood pressure.

Unfortunately when a diabetic patient reaches the advance stage of diabetic retinopathy (Proliferative), they have to undergo a laser surgery treatment called scatter laser treatment. The use of scatter laser surgery to treat advance diabetes retinopathy means that a patient with the disease has to have between 1000 to 2000 laser burns induced on certain areas of the retina.

This particular treatment causes shrinkage in the tiny abnormal blood vessels in the eyes. Ideally, because of the number of laser burns that diabetes patients or any other patients have to endure, it is sometimes necessary for them to have two or session before the required amount of treatment is completed.

Although this treatment can produce some positive results, there are some known side affects which can include a slight reduction in the color and night vision of these patients. The best time to use scatter laser surgery to treat diabetes retinopathy is before the tiny fragile, abnormal, blood vessels begin to bleed or leak into the eyes.

So it is extremely important to have a comprehensive dilated eye exams regularly. Especially if you have diabetes. There is another laser treatment that is used in the treatment of this eye disease. This particular laser treatment is called a focal laser treatment. It is normally used when diabetes individuals have macular edema.

Unlike scatter laser surgery, focal laser treatment involves a patient having several hundred laser burns instead of a couple thousand, induced in certain areas of the retinal leakage around the macular. By having this type of laser treatment done, diabetics can have the leakage of the fluid in the eye reduced or stopped completely.

An individual usually requires one treatment but in some cases they may be required to obtain a few more treatments. By having focal laser treatment or surgery done, diabetics that do have diabetes retinopathy can have their vision stabilized and avoid the risk of complete vision loss by as much as 50%.

So if you have diabetes, make sure that you have your eyes checked regularly. This will ensure that you detect any signs of diabetes retinopathy.


Diabetes retinopathy should be a part of your diabetes testing.

Vision loss is also expereienced with macular degeneration

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