Diabetic retinopathy is the most frequent vascular disorder of the eye. We differentiate between non-proliferative retinopathy, proliferative retinopathy, diabetic maculopathy and diabetic macular edema. These forms also represent the 4 stages of diabetic retinopathy, which are discussed in the symptoms of diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy proceeds insidiously and is often detected at an advanced stage. Due to this fact, you should undergo preventive examinations, especially if you are suffering from diabetes.
Symptoms diabetic retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy proceeds in 4 subsequent stages:
I. Non-proliferative retinopathy
Non-proliferative retinopathy is the first stage of diabetic retinopathy. The blood vessels of the retina change, which results in fatty and protein deposits, impairing the normal supply of nutrients of the eye. However, patients often do not notice non-proliferative retinopathy.
II. Proliferative retinopathy
In case of proliferative retinopathy, new blood vessels build, growing into the vitreous humor, that often lose blood, which is accumulated in the vitreous humor, resulting in an enormous decrease in visual acuity.
III. Diabetic maculopathy
Within the temporal course of diabetic maculopathy, the damage of the retina reaches the point of sharpest vision, the macula lutea. Blood and other liquids severely leak from the damaged vessels of the retina.
IV. Diabetic macular edema
The last stage of diabetic retinopathy, the diabetic macular edema, is characterized by liquid deposits in the macula, which makes the retina denser and eventually results in blindness.
Causes diabetic retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy is a result of diabetes mellitus.
Diagnostics diabetic retinopathy
The diagnosis “diabetic retinopathy” is often made after examining the eye with a slit lamp and a microscope.
Treatment diabetic retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy can be treated with different therapy options:
- blood sugar medication
- vitrectomy (surgical removal of vitreous humor)
- intravitreal (inside the eye) administration of drugs