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Diabetic retinopathy is not a standalone disease; it is a side effect of diabetes. This is a condition that affects the eyes. It may start with no tangible harm to the eyes at all. With time, however, it progresses to complete blindness.
This disease damages the light sensing tissue inside the retina. Both diabetes type 1 and 2 can cause this disease as a complication. Your risk increases with the duration you have had diabetes for.
Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy:
The following signs if exhibited by your body, will help you identify diabetic retinopathy:
• Blind spots in your vision, areas in which you cannot see anything
• Problems with spotting and telling different colours apart
• Alternating bouts of adequate and inadequate vision
• Small wriggling or floating lines in your field of vision
• A weakening eyesight
If you suspect the initial warning signs in your vision, begin periodic visits to your ophthalmologist round the year. The frequent examinations will help you keep track of any deteriorating symptoms and take the necessary action.
Start these visits also if your vision is weakening, objects look blurry at the seams or random spots and small dark figures crop up in your line of vision.
The types of diabetic retinopathy
This disease may be of two different types. They are:
1.) Early diabetic retinopathy: This is the more common and less advanced variety of the two. In this stage, the formation of new, healthy blood vessels in the retina is prevented, and the older healthy ones get distorted in shape. The damage progresses until you get it treated.
2.) Advanced diabetic retinopathy: This is the more severe of the two varieties. In it, along with no new healthy vessels being produced, old impaired ones stop working and new distorted growths start occurring. This can lead to even glaucoma with time.
Diabetic retinopathy: Better prevented than cured
While this disease cannot be entirely prevented, the risks of it ever happening to you can be greatly reduced by:
• Be on alert for failing vision: Keep an eye out for any changes or peculiarities in your vision, which was not there before. It may be a sign of impending diabetic retinopathy.
• Try to remedy your diabetes: Eat healthy, include a lot of greens in your diet. Also, try to get enough exercise every day of the week.
• Give up smoking: It is a habit that exacerbates diabetes complications, or indirectly even leads to diabetes, so you should steer clear of it.
Diabetic retinopathy is a disease that can cause permanent blindness, so utmost care must be taken to reduce the risks or ever catching it. It is a diabetic complication that affects your retina, but by adopting a healthier lifestyle, you can keep both diabetes and its related health risks at bay.
Macular Degeneration is an age-related macular degeneration incurable eye disease, which might result in blurred vision or no vision in the centre of the vision field, which might lead to visual distortions, reduced central vision, decreased intensity of the colours and can make it difficult for the patient to recognize faces, read, drive and to perform other activities.
Types of Macular Degeneration:
1. Dry Macular Degeneration: It is characterized by the presence of drusen and thinning of macula because of a breakdown or thinning of the layer of retinal pigment epithelial cells in the macula.
2. Wet macular degeneration: In this type of AMD, there is an excessive growth of blood vessels, which causes bleeding, leakage, as well as scaring under the retina, which results in a rapid and severe loss of the central vision and might become permanent if not treated.
Causes of Age-related Macular Degeneration:
This is caused due to a problem related to the part of eye known as Macula, which is a spot at the centre of the retina of the eye. The focus point of the incoming ray of light is on Macula, which is responsible for see the things direct in front of us, especially reading and writing.
- Age: As the age increases, the probability of developing Age-related Macular Degeneration also increases significantly. The degree of the macular degeneration might vary person to person, but ageing is a major cause of suffering from age-related macular degeneration.
- Smoking: Smoking increases the chances of developing the disease in comparison to someone who does not smoke. The longer you have smoked, the more are the chances of developing it.
- Family History: The risk of developing the Age-related Macular Degeneration increases if it runs in your family, i.e. if your parents and siblings are suffering from it, then your chances of developing it are quite high as compared to the ones who do not have any family history.
- Obesity: The obese people have the higher chances of developing Age-related Macular Degeneration.
- Alcohol: Higher alcohol consumption also puts you at the risk of AMD, which is why one should always take alcohol in limited quantity only.
- Sunlight: As going out in sunlight without sunscreen is harmful to your skin, the same is harmful to your eyes for longer duration, and one should always wear UV-absorbing sunglasses to protect his eyes from AMD.
- Ethnicity: The white and Chinese are more prone to developing AMD as compared to the black people.
- Cardiovascular disease: The persons who have suffered diseases that affect the heart and other blood vessel are at higher risk of macular degeneration.
Treatment of Age-related Macular Degeneration
1. Anti-VEGF Drugs: The dry macular degeneration cannot be cured while the wet macular degeneration can be stabilized and maintained with a number of medical treatments to be injected into the eye, such as Lucentis, Avastin and Eylea. These are not long procedures and continued monitoring of the vision to maintain or improve the vision.
2. Laser photocoagulation: It consists of a concentrated beam of high energy thermal light that is directed towards the retina to obliterate and seal leaking blood vessels. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult an ophthalmologist.
If you are diabetic then it is important that you consult a ophthalmologist for regular check-ups. Diabetes is known to be one of main causes for blindnessacross all age groups. If you suffer from bouts of blurred vision then it is not likely due to a long term vision problem. It is temporary and usually occurs due to fluctuating blood sugar levels in the body.
How diabetes affects your eyes?
The lens of your eyes can swell if you are a diabetic, and this can impair your ability to see causing blurry vision. In order to rectify this problem, it is important for you to get your blood sugar levels under optimal levels. This entire procedure of reducing blood sugar levels may take three months or more.
Eye problems that are caused by diabetes
The major eye problems that can occur due to diabetes are
- Cataract: Cataract occurs when the lens of your eyes become foggy or cloudy. Although cataract mostly occurs to people who are middle aged or above sixty, you can get affected by this disorder at an earlier age if you are diabetic. Also, the deterioration or clouding of the lens progresses at a much faster rate than usual. Cataracts lead to an inability to focus as the retina is covered by cloudy layer.
- Glaucoma: This is another disorder that can occur due to diabetes. This is characterized by the buildup of pressure in the eye due to the fluids within it not draining properly. This intense pressure damages the nerves and blood vessels in the eyes, thus impairing your ability to see.
- Diabetic Retinopathy: Diabetic retinopathy is a disorder characterized by damage to the vessels in the retina that carry blood. It can occur if you have either of the type 2 or type 1 diabetes. If not treated in time it can lead to blindness.
If you have a history of diabetes or even borderline diabetic tendencies, it is highly advisable to constantly check your blood sugar levels and also get your eye checked at regular intervals, especially if you feel even the minutest vision problems.
What Is Retinal Detachment?
Retinal detachment is an emergency eye condition in which the retina at the back of the eye gets separated from the surrounding tissue and pulls away from its normal position. The retina acts as a light-sensitive wallpaper in the eye, providing a lining for the inside of the eye wall and sending visual signals to the brain. As the retina can't work properly under these conditions, one can permanently lose vision if the detached retina is not repaired immediately.
During the retinal detachment, the retinal cells get separated from the layer of blood vessels which provides oxygen and nourishment. Usually, it begins in form of small torn area of retina known as retinal tears or retinal breaks. This condition, if not treated, leads to retinal detachment and finally permanent vision loss.
Retinal detachment has tell-tale warning signs like an increase in sudden appearance of floaters resembling cobwebs floating in field of vision. It can be coupled with flashes of light or curtain from any direction causing a loss of vision.
Types of Retinal Detachment:
Retinal detachment is of three types. The most common form is Rhegmatogenous retinal detachment where a tear allows fluid to get under retina and prevents nourishment to reach retina from retinal pigment epithelium by separating them. In Fractional form, scar tissue on the retina's surface shrinks causing it to separate from the retinal pigment epithelium. This form is most prevalent with diabetespatients. Lastly, in case of Exudative retinal detachment, the fluid leaks into the area under retina without a tear or breaks in the retina. Retinal diseases or trauma to the eye are main causes for Exudative retinal detachment.
Although a person of any age can suffer from retinal detachment, but it is more prevalent in people over the age of 40. People suffering from degenerative myopia or lattice degeneration are more prone to this medical condition. People with family history of retinal detachment are also likely to suffer from the same.
Treatment of Retinal Detachment:
Retinal detachment can be treated in many ways. The most common form is the Laser surgery in which small tears and hole are joined back to the retina. Another method is Cryopexy in which the area around the hole in frozen and helps reattach the retina. Both the above procedure are performed at ophthalmologist's clinic.
Sometimes, one may have to opt for Scleral buckle in which a tiny synthetic band is attached to the outside of the eyeball which gently pushes the wall of the eye in toward the centre of the eye placing the eye wall very close to the detached retina. Another option is vitrectomy surgery to replace the vitreous that fills the centre of the eye and helps the eye maintain a round shape.
A retinal detachment is an emergency medical condition and must be treated immediately to save one's vision. Most people have been successfully treated for retinal detachment, but ophthalmologists cannot always predict how vision will turn out. The visual outcome will not be known for up to several months after surgery. However the results are best when the retinal detachment is treated as soon as possible.