Patients with diabetes are at great risk for developing serious eye afflictions. By adversely affecting the blood vessels, diabetes can cause fluid or blood to leak into the eye, a problem known as diabetic retinopathy. When left untreated, these problems can lead to irreversible damage within the eye. In fact, the longer a person has diabetes, the greater the likelihood of developing diabetic retinopathy. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, diabetics are 25 times more likely to lose vision than those who are not diabetic.
An early form of diabetic retinopathy is called nonproliferative or background retinopathy. In a later stage called proliferative retinopathy, new blood vessels grow on the surface of the retina. These abnormal vessels can cause serious visual problems, including bleeding and retinal detachment.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, 95 percent of those with significant diabetic retinopathy can avoid substantial vision loss if they are treated in time. An annual dilated eye exam is crucial for early detection, as patients may have significant retinal damage from diabetic retinopathy without noticing any symptoms.
When necessary, diabetic retinopathy can often be treated with laser photocoagulation to seal leakage from blood vessels or stop the growth of new vessels.
For more information about diabetic retinopathy, please contact the specialists at North Georgia Eye Clinic today.