Diabetic Retinopathy is a complication of diabetes in the eyes. It involves changes to blood vessels of the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye (retina). The retina acts similarly to a film projector and projects images from the back of the eye to the brain. In people who develop Diabetic Retinopathy the blood vessels may swell and leak fluid or there can be a growth of new weak blood vessels that break and leak blood into the eye so the retina cannot project images to your brain.
Diabetic Retinopathy can develop in anyone who has type 1 or 2 diabetes. In the initial stages there may be no symptoms or only mild vision problems.
These are some of the symptoms that patients may experience:
- Blurred vision
- Flashes of light in the field of vision
- Sudden loss of vision and blotches or spots in vision
Diabetes is the largest cause for blindness in adult Canadians, and if left untreated, diabetic retinopathy can result in permanent blindness. Therefore, it is important to not wait for any symptoms to develop, and to take prevention seriously. Start by scheduling annual eye exams and carefully controlling your blood sugar levels.