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Diabetic Retinopathy: What You Need To Know

June 28, 2018 Jeanette Stern


Diabetic Retinopathy

When you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you need to be sure to work with your health plan and your providers to ensure you are taking good care of your body. Uncontrolled blood sugar can cause a variety of health problems, including diabetic retinopathy.

What is diabetic retinopathy?

The condition is an eye disease that occurs within those who have diabetes if blood sugar levels are high and stay high for too long. Essentially, it causes damage to the blood vessels found within the retina. The vessels may swell or leak. Additionally, the vessels may close, preventing blood from being able to pass through at all. In some instances, abnormal, new blood vessels may grow on the surface of the retina. All of these issues can take away your vision.

The 2 Forms

It's important to have labs done to find out what type of diabetic retinopathy you have. There are two forms to be aware of.

NPDR, also known as non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy, is the early stage. There are many people with diabetes who have it. Some of the tiny blood vessels in the retina may leak, causing the retina to swell. If the macula inside the eye swells as well, it is known as macular edema. It is one of the most common reasons why diabetics will often lose their vision.

Your vision will likely be blurry if you have NPDR.

PDR, short for proliferative diabetic retinopathy, is the more advanced stage of the eye disease amongst diabetics. When the retina begins growing new blood vessels, neovascularization is in effect. Many of these new vessels are fragile and will bleed into the vitreous. This can cause dark floaters in your vision or block all vision depending on how much the blood vessels bleed. Further, the blood vessels can form scar tissue. When this occurs, there may be problems with the macula or result in a detached retina. Central and peripheral vision can be lost with PDR.

Getting the Help That You Need

When you are diabetic, you want to make sure that health services are customized based on your needs. This includes reviewing health risk assessments to see if you are in jeopardy of experiencing diabetic retinopathy.

According to the Mayo Clinic, there are less than 200,000 cases in the United States every year. It is considered rare, though there are a large number of diabetics who experience the early stages.

You will need a medical diagnosis to learn whether you have diabetic retinopathy. If you have any kind of blurriness, floaters, dark areas of vision, or even difficulty perceiving colors, you want to make sure to speak to your doctor.

There are treatments that can help to prevent further loss of your vision. However, there is no cure for retinopathy.

Some of the mild cases of diabetic retinopathy can be treated with proper diabetes management. When you reduce your blood sugar, you are less likely to cause damage to the blood vessels around your retina, preventing retinopathy from getting any worse than it already is. Further, you may want to talk to your doctor if laser treatment or surgery can help in certain advanced cases.

The only way to take care of the problem is to know about it. This is why you need to focus on education regarding diabetes, behavior modification, as well as early detection.

At MedXM, we offer a large network of medical professionals throughout the United States, equipped with some of the latest medical devices and diagnostic equipment. This makes it easier to connect members with professionals that can provide you with guidance as it pertains to diabetes management and retinopathy.

Learn more about diabetic retinopathy by contacting MedXM today.

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