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Diabetic Retinopathy Complications to Watch Out for Diabetics

Diabetic retinopathy is visual impairment that occurs as a result of diabetes. This condition can cause eye complications if not treated. What are the complications of diabetic retinopathy in diabetics? Check out the full explanation in the review below.

Diabetic Retinopathy Complications to Watch Out for Diabetics

Diabetic Retinopathy Complications in Diabetics

Diabetic retinopathy complications can occur due to damage to the blood vessels in the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye (retina). If left untreated, these complications can develop in anyone with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

Following are some complications of diabetic retinopathy that can occur in diabetics, including:

1. Diabetic Macular Edema

Over time, a large proportion of people with diabetic retinopathy will develop diabetic macular edema. In people with diabetic retinopathy, the walls of blood vessels in the retina will weaken. This condition can leak fluid and blood into the central part of the retina, which is known as the macula.

The macula is the part of the retina for sharp central vision. This part can swell and cause symptoms like blurred vision, double vision, increased dark spots in the eyes.

2. Vitreous Bleeding

New blood vessels may bleed into the clear, jelly-like substance that fills the center of the eye. If the amount of bleeding is small, only a few dark spots may appear in the eye.

In more severe cases, blood can flood the vitreous cavity (otherwise known as the clear body in the eye) and completely impair vision.

Vitreous hemorrhage by itself often does not cause permanent vision loss. Blood can usually come out of the eye in a few weeks or months. Unless the retina is damaged, vision is likely to return to its former clarity.

3. Neovascular Glaucoma

If people with diabetic retinopathy have abnormal blood vessels growing in the iris (the colored part of the eye), the effect can block fluid drainage. This condition causes a type of glaucoma.

The fluid can build up quickly, causing a sudden increase in eye pressure. If left untreated, this type of glaucoma can cause blindness within days.

4. Retinal Ablation

Diabetic retinopathy can become more serious or is known as proliferative retinopathy. In this condition, blood vessels become completely blocked and the body responds by growing new blood vessels in the retina.

These vessels become weak, so they can bleed and cause scarring. This tissue can pull the retina away from the back of the eye. Symptoms of complications of diabetic retinopathy in people with diabetes include:

  • Many new dark spots in the eyes.
  • A flash of light in one or both eyes.
  • Dark shadows at the sides or in the center of the field of view of the eyes.

Retinal detachment is a medical emergency, so see an eye doctor or the ER immediately if you have these symptoms.

5. Blindness

Diabetic retinopathy, macular edema, glaucoma, or a combination of these conditions can cause complete vision loss. This is especially if the condition is not treated properly. For this reason, it is important to get a quick diagnosis and the right treatment.

Also Read: Diabetic Retinopathy: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment

How to Prevent Diabetic Retinopathy Complications

If you have diabetes, reduce your risk of developing diabetic retinopathy by taking the following steps, including:

  • Get your eyes checked regularly. It’s best to have dilated eyes checked at least once a year so the eye doctor can catch problems earlier when they can be treated.
  • Control blood sugar. Keep blood sugar levels within the target range as much as possible. Over time, high blood sugar not only damages the blood vessels in the eyes, but also affects the shape of the lens and makes vision blurry.
  • Control blood pressure and cholesterol. Keep blood pressure and cholesterol levels within target ranges to lower your risk of eye disease and vision loss. It is also good for health in general.
  • Quit smoking. Giving up smoking can reduce the risk of diabetes-related eye disease and improve health.
  • Do sports. Being physically active can help protect the eyes from distraction and help manage diabetes.

Although diabetes does not always cause vision loss, controlling diabetes can help prevent complications.

  1. Anonymous. 2022. Diabetes and Vision Loss. (Accessed January 4, 2023)
  2. Anonymous. 2021. Diabetic retinopathy. (Accessed January 4, 2023)
  3. Levines, Hallie. 2022. Complications of Diabetic Retinopathy. (Accessed January 4, 2023)

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