Any vision related problem/s associated with diabetes is known as diabetic retinopathy. The earliest changes caused by diabetes are manifested in the form of non proliferative diabetic retinopathy. This is a condition characterised by insignificant damages caused in the blood vessels of the eye, which will eventually become more serious if not treated on time. Usually, non proliferative diabetic retinopathy will be asymptomatic. Patients suffering from the earliest stages of diabetic retinopathy will have a normal 20/20 vision.
Non Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy
- At first, the retinal blood vessels may start bleeding minimally and there may also be fluid leakage into the retinal tissue. A registered eye specialist will be conducting a dilated eye examination to determine the damages.
- Typically, the doctor will look for tiny bleeding spots within the retina for an effective assessment. He would also look out for retinal swelling on account of fluid leakage. There may also be a leakage of fatty material from the damaged blood vessels, which can eventually accumulate in the retina in the form of deposits that are called exudates.
- Often, the ophthalmologist will record retinal changes by clicking colour photographs of the rear of the eye.
- Non proliferative diabetic retinopathy can be sub categorised into three forms: mild, moderate or severe. The categorisation is performed on the basis of the extent of bleeding and the number of leaking areas detected in the eye.
- In cases where non proliferative diabetic nephropathy leads to reduced vision, doctors may choose to conduct a special test called the fluorescein angiogram. This will involve injecting a yellow coloured dye in the arm vein and taking photographs of the rear of the eyes. It is done to detect abnormal leakages and blood vessel damages.
- A common complication associated with non proliferative diabetic retinopathy is called macular oedema. This is a condition where enough liquid is released into the retina causing fluid retention and associated swelling. Macular oedema causes darkening and distortion of the images and blurred vision. The intensity of macular oedema can vary in both eyes and may not be the same.
Although, eye specific treatments for diabetic retinopathy are available, the main treatment must involve effective management of the underlying disease. The best way to approach it is to attempt strict control of blood sugar levels through effective medications or insulin shots.
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