Diabetic Retinopathy Symptoms Explained

June 28th, 2013
Senior woman with glucometer checking blood sugar level at home. Diabetes, health care concept

Diabetic retinopathy symptoms are often very subtle. It is not unusual for someone in the early stages to have no symptoms at all. Diabetic retinopathy is caused by damage to the blood vessels of the light sensitive tissue at the back of the eye, called the retina. It occurs in patients with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, especially in those who have been diabetic for a long time, or who do not adequately control their blood sugar.

Causes of Diabetic Retinopathy

Before discussing diabetic retinopathy symptoms, it is important to understand the causes. Too much sugar in the blood damages tiny blood vessels in your body, including those that nourish the retina. As blood vessels become blocked, blood supply is cut off, so the eye compensates by creating new blood vessels. However, because these new vessels are not properly developed, they can leak, which causes vision loss as well. Scar tissue may also form, pulling on the retina, which can lead to a detached retina.

Diabetic Retinopathy Symptoms

Initially, the patient may have no symptoms until the condition progresses. As it worsens, patients may experience spots or dark strings floating in their vision, known as floaters, or dark, empty areas in their vision. Vision may be blurry or may fluctuate, and some patients may suffer a loss of vision completely. Another common symptom is difficulty with color perception.

Complications of Diabetic Retinopathy

For those suffering from diabetic retinopathy symptoms, it is critical to see an ophthalmologist as soon as possible. Diabetic retinopathy can cause the new blood vessels to bleed into the eye, which normally does not cause permanent vision loss, but may affect vision for several weeks until the blood clears from the eye. Scar tissue may cause your retina to detach, which could lead to severe vision loss. Glaucoma is another risk of diabetic retinopathy as new blood vessels could block the normal flow of fluid from the eye, causing it to build up, which could cause blindness.

If you or someone you love is suffering from diabetic retinopathy symptoms, visit us at Kleiman Evangelista or call 1-800-714-2020 to learn what treatments are available.

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