Diabetic Retinopathy Can Develop With Diabetes
Diabetes can start at any age but the western lifestyle and diet puts many people at risk of developing this disease, once you have developed diabetes you are at risk of developing an eye condition called diabetic retinopathyA part of the body called the pancreas may no longer produce enough insulin to control raised blood glucose levels or cells in the body become resistant to the effects of insulin. This leads to sustained high blood glucose which can damage the circulation and many parts of the body including the eye.
Diabetic Retinopathy – Two Types
Diabetes can cause two different problems to the eyes – retinopathy and or diabetic maculopathy.
Retinopathy – The effects of diabetes on the small blood vessels cause an overall reduction of circulation to the retina. This can lead to malformations forming in the blood vessels, bleeding in the retina and parts of the retina not receiving enough oxygen. The eye consequently attempts to produce new blood vessels, a process called neovascularisation (new blood vessel formation). These new blood vessels are not beneficial, they can cause bleeding and scarring and have the potential to damage vision.
Diabetic Maculopathy affects the central sensitive part of the retina called the macula. You use your macula to read, see colour and make out fine detail. Once again the root cause is the effect of diabetes on the circulation. This causes a swelling and a build up of fluid in the macula called maculopathy. The retina in effect becomes “waterlogged” and if left in this state can be progressively damaged.