Diabetic retinopathy is an eye complication of diabetic mellitus. This condition is caused by damage to the retinal blood vessels at the back of the eye. Diabetic retinopathy usually exhibits mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. Left untreated, advanced diabetic retinopathy can lead to blindness. The condition usually affects both eyes.
All diabetic patients are at risk of diabetic retinopathy. The risk increases with the following underlying conditions:
- Poor control of blood sugar levels
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
Symptoms for diabetic retinopathy may not be obvious at early stages. Patients should consult their doctors when they encounter any of the following situations:
- Spots floating in your vision
- Blurred vision
- Dark streaks or red film that blocks your vision or poor night vision
Digital Retinal Photography (DRP) can detect the following:
- Normal retina
- Early diabetic retinopathy with retinal swelling at the macula
- Advanced diabetic retinopathy with bleeding in the back of the eye
- Advanced diabetic retinopathy with retinal detachment
Regular eye examinations are critical both before and after treatment of diabetic retinopathy.