Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic RetinopathyDiabetic retinopathy, or diabetic eye disease, refers to a group of eye problems that people with diabetes may face as a complication of diabetes. All can cause severe vision loss or even blindness. It is caused by changes in the blood vessels of the retina.

Diabetic Retinopathy Fast Facts

  • It is estimated that 5.3 million Americans age 18 and older are affected by diabetic retinopathy.
  • Approximately 74 percent of people who have diabetes for 10 years or more will develop some form of diabetic retinopathy.
  • Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of vision loss in adults of working age (20 to 65 years) in industrialized countries.

Who Is at Risk for Diabetic Retinopathy?

  • All people with diabetes–both type 1 and type 2–are at risk.
  • Pregnant women with diabetes have a high risk

Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment Options

During the first three stages of diabetic retinopathy, no treatment is needed, unless you have macular edema. To prevent progression of diabetic retinopathy, people with diabetes should control their levels of blood sugar, blood pressure, and blood cholesterol.

Proliferative retinopathy is treated with laser surgery. This procedure is called scatter laser treatment. Scatter laser treatment helps to shrink the abnormal blood vessels and works better before the fragile, new blood vessels have started to bleed. Scatter laser treatment may slightly reduce your color vision and night vision.

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