What is Diabetic Retinopathy?
Retinopathy is damage to the retinas and a common issue amongst diabetics. The retina is part of the eye that is essential for sight. Persistent high blood glucose levels can damage the retinas, which is a common cause of blindness.
There are three types of Retinopathy:
- Background Retinopathy
This is the earliest, visible stage of damage to the retina. The capillaries inside the retina become blocked, causing them to bulge and leak blood.
When background retinopathy develops, it reaches the macula. This is the part of the eye that is the most used area of the retina. The macula is extremely important because it provides our central vision, making our sight clear and detailed. The swelling can cause loss of vision and everything may appear blurry.
- Proliferative Retinopathy
At this stage, background retinopathy develops further, and large areas of the retina are deprived of a proper blood supply. This stimulates the growth of new blood vessels that are very delicate and bleed easily. The bleeding then causes scar tissue to form, which shrinks and pulls on the retina, possibly causing it to detach and lead to blindness. At this stage, the complication is treated with laser therapy.