Diabetic retinopathy is the result of diabetes weakening effects on the blood vessels within the lining of the inner eye called the retina. Bleeding and the growth of fragile new blood vessels in the retina will destroy eyesight. Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in adults in the USA. Vision symptoms are usually rare in the early stages of diabetic retinopathy however intermittent blur and seeing spots in the vision can be warning signs. Risk factors for diabetic retinopathy are:
- Poorly controlled diabetes
- Being diabetic for 10+ years
Annual eye exams are strongly recommended for all diabetic patients. Eye doctors use various exam methods and instrumentation to diagnose diabetic retinopathy. Many eye doctors now use retinal photography methods to detect retinal blood vessel problems and to monitor changes from exam to exam. Treatments for diabetic retinopathy, including laser eye surgery to cauterize blood vessels that leak blood into the retina, can be very successful. Early diagnosis is certainly the key.