Diabetic retinopathy is a microangiopathy that concerns retinal pre-capillaries, capillaries and venules, resulting in microvascular occlusion and vascular leakage, due to high and long blood sugar levels. Diabetic retinopathy can cause decreased vision and blindness, mainly due to complications such as macular edema, vitreous hemorrhage, tractional retinal detachment and neovascular glaucoma.
In diabetic retinopathy, too much sugar in the blood can cause a blockage of small blood vessels that feed the retina and stop its blood supply. As a result, the eye tries to grow new blood vessels. However, these new blood vessels do not grow well and can leak easily. There are two stages of diabetic retinopathy:
Non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy
The narrowing of blood vessels in the eye, which can lead to leakage or bleeding, and accumulation of fluids and fatty material in the retina, may lead to macular edema conditions, leading to blurred vision.
Proliferative diabetic retinopathy
Damage that may occur in the blood vessels near the eye retina area will cause the body to naturally stimulate the growth of new blood vessels are weaker, a condition commonly called neovascularization. If the blood vessels grow around the pupil area, glaucoma may appear due to additional pressure in the eye. These new blood vessels are very weak and prone to bleeding and can cause scars, which can cause the retina to escape from the back of the eye. If left unchecked, this retinal detachment can cause severe visual impairment as well as blindness.
Diabetic retinopathy is very likely to be experienced by diabetics who have long had the disease. The longer a person has diabetes the greater the risk for diabetic retinopathy, especially if the blood sugar levels are not controlled. In addition, the risk will also increase if supported by factors of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, pregnancy, and tobacco use.