Diabetic Retinopathy

about-diabetic-eye-disease.pngThe most serious eye condition associated with Diabetes is Diabetic Retinopathy which causes damage to the network of blood vessels in the retina. As with so many conditions the key to successful treatment is early detection and in the case of Diabetic Retinopathy this is best done with a detailed eye examination. All diabetics should be examined at least annually.

Diabetic Retinopathy is usually graded according to how severe it is. The three main stages are described below.

Background Diabetic Retinopathy

This condition is very common in people who have had diabetes for a long time and vision will be normal with no threat to sight.


With time, if the background Diabetic Retinopathy becomes more severe, the macular area may become involved. The is called Maculopathy. If this happens, central vision will gradually get worse. It may be difficult to recognise people's faces or to see detail such as small print. The amount of central vision that is lost varies from person to person. However, the vision that allows us to get around at home and outside (peripheral vision) will be perserved. Maculopathy is the main cause of loss of vision and may occur gradually and progressively. It is rare for someone with maculopathy to lose all their sight.

Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy/h2>

As the eye condition progresses, it can sometimes cause the blood vessels in the retina to become blocked. If this happens then new blood vessels form in the eye. This is called Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy, and is nature's way of trying to repair the damage so that the retina has a new blood supply. Unfortunately, these new blood vessels are weak. They are also in the wrong place - growing on the surface of the retina and into the vitreous gel. As a result, these blood vessels can bleed very easily and cause scar tissue to form in the eye. The scarring pulls and distorts the retina. When the retina is pulled out of position this is called a retinal detachment. Early detection and treatment are key to successful management. If left untreated Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy can cause severe vision loss.

During an optomise eye examination we monitor the condition closely for any changes and give advice and make recommendations where appropriate.

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