Diabetic retinopathy is caused by high blood sugar due to diabetes. Over time, having too much sugar in your blood can damage your retina — the part of your eye that detects light and sends signals to your brain through a nerve in the back of your eye (optic nerve). Diabetes damages blood vessels all over the body.
How does retinopathy occur in diabetes?
As diabetic retinopathy progresses, new blood vessels may grow and threaten your vision. Over time, too much sugar in your blood can lead to the blockage of the tiny blood vessels that nourish the retina, cutting off its blood supply. As a result, the eye attempts to grow new blood vessels.
How does diabetes affect the eye?
Diabetes can lead to swelling in the macula, which is called diabetic macular edema. Over time, this disease can destroy the sharp vision in this part of the eye, leading to partial vision loss or blindness. Macular edema usually develops in people who already have other signs of diabetic retinopathy.
When does diabetic retinopathy occur?
Although retinopathy usually does not appear for approximately five years after a type 1 diabetes diagnosis, it may already be present when type 2 diabetes is diagnosed. After 15 years of having diabetes, 98 percent of those with type 1 diabetes and 78 percent of those with type 2 have some degree of retinal damage.
Do all diabetics get retinopathy?
During the next two decades, nearly all type 1 diabetic patients develop retinopathy. Up to 21% of patients with type 2 diabetes have retinopathy at the time of first diagnosis of diabetes, and most develop some degree of retinopathy over time. Vision loss due to diabetic retinopathy results from several mechanisms.
Does diabetes cause blindness?
Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes, caused by high blood sugar levels damaging the back of the eye (retina). It can cause blindness if left undiagnosed and untreated.
Why does high blood sugar affect vision?
High blood sugar levels cause swelling in the lens of the eye, temporarily causing changes in vision. The common remedy to this condition is simply getting blood sugar levels back into a target range. Before meals, this range is between 70-130 mg/dL.
Does insulin affect eyesight?
You may also get blurred vision when you start insulin treatment. This is due to shifting fluids, but it generally resolves after a few weeks. For many people, as blood sugar levels stabilize, so does their vision.
What percentage of diabetics develop retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy is the most frequent cause of new cases of blindness among adults aged 20–74 years. During the first two decades of disease, nearly all patients with type 1 diabetes and >60% of patients with type 2 diabetes have retinopathy.
What are the stages of diabetic retinopathy?
When these blood vessels thicken, they can develop leaks, which can then lead to vision loss. The four stages of diabetic retinopathy are classified as mild, moderate, and severe nonproliferative and proliferative.
Can lowering blood sugar improve vision?
While high blood sugar can change the shape of the lens in your eye, low blood sugar doesn’t and this particular vision issue can be corrected sooner by getting your blood sugar back to normal from a meal or snack.
How long does it take diabetic retinopathy to develop?
Typically, diabetic patients will develop diabetic retinopathy after they have had diabetes for between 3-5 years. In the early stages, diabetic retinopathy will not affect sight, but if it progresses, eventually sight will be affected.
What does a person with diabetic retinopathy see?
Diabetic retinopathy is blood vessel damage in the retina that happens as a result of diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy can cause a range of symptoms, including blurred vision, difficulty seeing colors, and eye floaters. Without treatment, it can cause vision loss.