Diabetes Complications and Eye DiseaseDiabetes affects 3- 4 % of the world population. India is about to become the diabetes capital of the world with the second highest number of people with diabetes. Around 40 million people in India have diabetes and 50% of these show some signs of diabetic retinopathy at any given point. Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes and a leading cause of blindness. It occurs when diabetes damages the blood vessels of the retina. Retina is the light-sensitive nerve layer of that line the back of the eye and is necessary for good vision. Retina converts the light that enter the eye into nerve signals and are sent to the brain. Diabetic retinopathy occurs when high blood sugar damages or clogs the blood within the retina. Diabetic Retinopathy is responsible for 5% of the total blindness in the world. Diabetic retinopathy affects both Type I and Type II diabetes. The risk of developing diabetic retinopathy increases with the duration of diabetes. After 15-20 years of diabetes:
- 80% of patients will develop some form of diabetic retinopathy
- 10% will develop severe visual loss
- 2% of patients will become blind.
- 20% of patients will have diabetic retinopathy at the time of detection of diabetes.
Signs and SymptomsDiabetic Retinopathy initially has no symptoms. Symptoms only develop when the damage to the eye is severe. Hence, do not wait for symptoms to develop and go for regular eye checkups.
- Blurring of vision
- Dark spots moving in your vision called floaters
- Missing areas of vision
- Difficulty in seeing at night
The following measures may help you in reducing the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy
- Studies have shown that long term good control of the diabetes reduces the risk of developing retinopathy.
- Checking your blood pressure and cholesterol regularly and keeping them under control would reduce the progression of retinopathy.
- Stop smoking.
- Regular eye check up
- Take your medications as prescribed by your doctor, regular exercise and a good diet will reduce the progression of the disease.