The retina is a layer of nerve lines at the back of the eye. A network of tiny blood vessels supplies blood to the retina. The retina becomes damaged when blood vessels leaks, become blocked or grow haphazardly due to persistent high blood sugar.
Diabetic retinopathy is damage to the retina caused by complications of insufficient diabetic control. It affects blood vessels in the light-sensitive tissue called the retina that lines the back of the eye. It is the most common cause of vision loss among people with diabetes and the leading cause of vision impairment and blindness among working-age adults.
STAGES OF RETINOPATHY
- Non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy occurs when small blood vessels of the retina leak fluids or bleed, causing blurring of central vision.
- Proliferative retinopathy is an advanced stage when blood vessels in the retina multiply due to lack of oxygen in the retina. These new vessels are fragile and are prone to bleeding. Eventually, patient loose vision suddenly from severe internal bleeding or gradually through the growth of scar tissues which can result in the retina detachment; leading to severe vision loss or even blindness.
SYMPTOMS AND SIGNS
Patients with early stages of diabetic retinopathy usually have no symptoms. The disease often progresses unnoticed until it affects vision. Bleeding from abnormal retinal blood vessels can cause the appearance of “floating” spots. These spots sometimes clear on their own. But without prompt treatment, bleeding often recurs, increasing the risk of permanent vision loss. Blurred vision can result if DME occurs.