Diabetic retinopathy is a complication caused by diabetes that negatively affects the eyes and can eventually lead to blindness. Understanding how diabetic retinopathy affects the eyes is an important part of identifying early symptoms and understanding what may be happening in your eyes.
What Causes Diabetic Retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy is caused by damaged blood vessels in the retina of your eyes. This is caused by high blood sugar levels. Without proper insulin production, the sugar will remain in the blood and causes different complications. One complication caused by excess blood sugar is increased plaque build-up.
The plaque narrows and hardens the blood vessels over time and can impede blood flow. This, over time, can damage the blood vessels in your retina.
How Diabetic Retinopathy Affects the Retina
Your retina will develop new blood vessels as they become damaged from elevated blood sugar. These new blood vessels can develop abnormally and leak into the retina. Early forms of diabetic retinopathy create small blood vessels that bulge and leak into the retina while creating larger blood vessels that are abnormally shaped but do not leak.
This is called nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy. However, this can develop into more severe proliferative diabetic retinopathy over time. Proliferative diabetic retinopathy occurs when the blood vessels begin to leak into the gel-like substance of your eyes called the vitreous.
This can create scar tissue to form on the retina and cause the retina to detach. Proliferative diabetic retinopathy can also increase the pressure in the eyes by limiting the flow of fluid out of the eyes. The increased pressure can lead to glaucoma and cause damage to the optic nerve.
Discover Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment Options
At Richens Eye Center, we believe that every patient should be informed of how their conditions affect their body so they can understand how our cutting-edge treatments are treating their condition.
Our team of doctors provides expert eye care in three locations in Utah and Nevada to ensure your treatments are never far away.
If you want to learn more about diabetic retinopathy or are seeking treatment, contact the Richens Eye Center to book a screening today. Reach us at 435-986-2020 for the St. George, UT office, 435-628-1112 for the St. George Sunset, UT office, and 702-346-2950 for the Mesquite, NV office.