COVID-19 Alert   We have changed our procedures for COVID-19.   Learn More

A Guide to Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy in Chicago

Diabetic Retinopathy Diabetic retinopathy is a serious eye condition that results from diabetes complications, and that may be less of a risk if the patient makes regular, yearly visits to an eye doctor for eye care in Chicago . The condition is caused by damage to the blood vessels in the eye’s retina, and at first may not result in any noticeable symptoms. If you suffer from diabetes, your risk of developing diabetic retinopathy increases over time, and is compounded by improper or infrequent eye care. To learn how to lower this risk, read this helpful guide to diabetic retinopathy.

Causes and Symptoms

When a diabetic’s blood sugar level is elevated over a long period of time, the tiny blood vessels that supply nourishment to the retina can become blocked. When the retina’s blood supply is cut off, it attempts to create new blood vessels, which may not develop properly. These abnormal blood vessels may leak fluid and blood into the vitreous fluid of your eye. People rarely experience early symptoms of diabetic retinopathy, but as the disease progresses, symptoms become severe. These symptoms include floaters, blurred vision, impaired color vision, dark spots that obstruct your vision, an intermittent need for vision correction, and complete vision loss.

Risk Factors and Complications

Your risk of developing diabetic retinopathy increases the longer you have diabetes, and is compounded by high cholesterol and blood pressure, poor regulation of blood sugar levels, pregnancy, and tobacco use. Certain races, such as Hispanic, African American, and Native American, are at an increased risk of developing the condition. Without the proper eye care from an ophthalmologist, you may suffer from very serious complications, including retinal detachment, glaucoma, vitreous hemorrhage, or blindness.

Prevention and Treatment

While you can’t completely prevent diabetic retinopathy, you can lower your risk of developing it. People with diabetes should visit their eye doctor or ophthalmologist yearly for comprehensive eye care, including a dilated vision exam. The sooner the condition is diagnosed, the more successful eye care treatment is. Treatment may include medication for diabetes management, laser eye care treatments, or eye surgery.