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6 Things to Know About Diabetic Retinopathy

For those with diabetes, both type 1 and type 2, there is a risk of developing an eye condition called diabetic retinopathy. According to the Mayo Clinic, it is caused “by damage to the blood vessels of the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye (retina).”

The likelihood of developing diabetic retinopathy increases the longer a person has diabetes, especially if their blood sugar is chronically high. And while symptoms of this eye complication may be slow to develop, it is possible for it to eventually cause blindness. Read on to learn more about the signs, causes and risk factors of diabetic retinopathy, as well as what can be done to prevent it from occurring altogether.

1. Signs

As previously mentioned, symptoms may not occur in the early stages of diabetic retinopathy. As the disease progresses, however, you may experience a variety of vision-related issues. These issues can include blurred vision, an inability to see colors, having dark or empty areas in your field of view, and sudden vision loss (oftentimes while reading or driving).

According to the Mayo Clinic, another common symptom is seeing “spots or dark strings floating in your vision.” These are known as ‘floaters’ and are caused by bleeding from abnormal retinal blood vessels. The National Eye Institute says, “These spots sometimes clear on their own. But without prompt treatment, bleeding often recurs, increasing the risk of permanent vision loss.”

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