Diabetic Retinopathy; Causes, Stages, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Complications & Treatment

1Diabetic Retinopathy Definition

Diabetic Retinopathy; Also known as diabetic eye disease, this type of retinopathy is a severe complication of diabetes mellitus that affects the light-sensitive lining located at the back of the eye, the retina, especially its blood vessels.

This condition can be find in any diabetes mellitus patient, both type 1 and 2, and is the most common form of diabetic eye disease. If diabetes mellitus is not well treated or even if it is, but the patient have had diabetes for several years, being chronically ill, the chances of developing diabetic retinopathy increases with every day that passes.

Almost 80% of people with diabetes mellitus for more than 20 years will develop a form of diabetic retinopathy. This condition usually affects both eyes.

The gravity of this problem is highlighted by the finding that individuals with diabetes mellitus are 25 times more likely to become legally blind than individuals without diabetes mellitus. With proper treatment and monitoring, approximately 90% of this cases could be reduced. Despite this, diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness, especially in people between 20 and 74 years old.

Among the various risk factors, we can find: the duration of diabetes mellitus, lack of control of blood sugar levels (glycemia), high blood pressure, high cholesterol, nephropathy, presence of protein in urine, tobacco use, etc. Pregnant women have a higher risk for developing diabetes mellitus and diabetic retinopathy.