Retinopathy refers to a condition that is the result of damage done to a patient's retina progressively through the course of diabetes. According to studies, diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness today. Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes patients are at risk for developing this condition, and the severity of it increases with the duration of the disease.

In the earlier stages of retinopathy, the blood vessels of the retina become absorbent and seep liquid into the retina, producing blurred vision. As this condition progresses and becomes more severe, new blood cells can grow and rupture, causing hemorrhage of the retina and loss of vision.


Retinopathy Symptoms

Symptoms of retinopathy include "spots" in the eye that "float," blood in the eye and decreased visual acuity. Many times there will be no warning symptoms present in the patient before a major hemorrhage occurs. Diagnosing this condition early is the key to recovery.

An ophthalmologic examination that usually includes dilation of the eye and retinal photography can correctly diagnose retinopathy. A tonometry exam may be performed as well, which measures the pressure inside the patient's eye. Contact your primary physician immediately if you suspect you are developing this condition. Your physician will check for any of the following signs: damaged nerve tissue, abnormal formation in the blood vessels, retinal swelling, seeping blood vessels, and pale, fatty deposits on the surface of the retina.

Retinopathy Treatment

Treatment of this condition usually cannot reverse existing damage, but can either slow down or stop any further injury to the eye. Laser surgery can be employed to close up seeping vessels or remove unneeded delicate vessels from the eye. Surgery such as a vitrectomy is usually used if a hemorrhage has occurred. This can also be used to repair a retinal detachment from a hemorrhage or retinal scarring.

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