Diabetes mellitus, a metabolic disease that occurs when the secretion of insulin fails to function normally or when the amount of insulin secretion is insufficient, is accompanied by various signs and symptoms due to high blood sugar, which increases the concentration of glucose in the blood. In addition, the high blood pressure symptoms of diabetes cause various complications such as various cardiovascular diseases, renal dysfunction, and neuropathy. Diabetic retinopathy, one of the three major complications of diabetes, is a disease in which peripheral blood vessels supplying blood to the retina, a thin tissue attached to the back inner wall of the eyeball, are damaged due to diabetes.
Diabetic retinopathy, which is known to occur more frequently when blood sugar is not well controlled, is reported to appear in about 15% of all diabetic patients, and is a drug used in patients with diabetes for 30 years or more after the onset of diabetes. It is known to occur in 90% of cases. In addition, if treatment is delayed, it can lead to blindness due to retinal detachment or macular damage. In fact, blindness due to diabetic retinopathy accounts for a high proportion of the causes of blindness in countries around the world, and it is a fatal disease that is called the three major blindness diseases along with macular degeneration and glaucoma. Now, let’s take a look at the main symptoms of diabetic retinopathy, and various information about treatment and prevention.
Main symptoms of diabetic retinopathy
Depending on the time period, diabetic retinopathy can be divided into non-proliferative retinopathy and proliferative retinopathy. Non-proliferative retinopathy refers to a condition in which the small blood vessels in the retina weaken and block the blood vessels, or the supply of nutrients is interrupted due to serum leakage. It develops gradually in a gradual form and has the characteristic of gradually declining vision.
Proliferative retinopathy is a condition in which new blood vessels appear in the retina of the optic nerve. In such proliferative retinopathy, if the amount of bleeding is relatively small, the visual field is obstructed as if a cloud is obscured. It is known as a fatal complication that can cause blindness within 5 years due to bleeding from new blood vessels if not treated properly.
In the early stages of the onset of diabetic retinopathy, there may be no symptoms, and symptoms of photopsia may appear in the flow of vision and feeling light in the dark. In addition, symptoms of anaphylaxis, in which objects such as insects and dust appear to float in front of the eyes, and metamorphosis, in which objects appear deformed and crooked, may also occur. In addition, if macular edema occurs, which causes the macular retina to swell due to increased vascular permeability, it may cause difficulty in driving at night due to impaired reading and reduced night vision due to loss of vision.
Since the visual loss in diabetic retinopathy usually occurs gradually in a gradual form, early detection is often delayed. If treatment is delayed in this way, severe visual loss due to macular edema, as well as various related complications such as macular damage, retinal detachment, and neovascular glaucoma, may lead to blindness. As early detection and treatment are known as the best way to prevent blindness due to diabetic retinopathy, if you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you should definitely get a diagnosis to check whether you have diabetic retinopathy. After that, it is important to check the occurrence of diabetic retinopathy through regular checkups once or twice a year and to continuously follow up.
Diabetic retinopathy treatment and prevention
1. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment
Diabetic retinopathy is diagnosed accurately through various tests such as fundus examination, ultrasound examination, and fluorescence fundus angiography. After that, the damaged part of the retina is destroyed by heat and coagulated to reduce the rate of progression, laser light therapy is performed, and at the same time, injection treatment is performed by administering angiogenesis inhibitors such as Avastin and Lucentis. If vitreous hemorrhage continues despite these various treatments, or if visual acuity is reduced due to retinal detachment, etc., surgical treatment such as vitrectomy should be considered. In addition, various diseases such as high blood pressure, hyperlipidemia, and kidney disease are known to be causative diseases that affect the occurrence and progression of diabetic retinopathy, so treatment of these causative diseases is also very important.
2. Blood sugar management
It is known that thorough blood sugar management is the most important to prevent the occurrence and progression of diabetic retinopathy, so it is necessary to manage it so that the blood sugar level always maintains a normal level. It is very important to continue to maintain a healthy diet that helps control blood sugar, and to continue aerobic exercise such as walking and swimming. However, it is recommended that you do moderate-intensity exercise to act as a factor that causes bleeding if it is too strenuous and strenuous enough to put a strain on your body.
In addition, smoking not only causes constriction of blood vessels, but also increases carbon monoxide in blood vessels, which is known as a representative risk factor that affects the occurrence and progression of diabetic retinopathy. In fact, as there are studies showing that the incidence of diabetic retinopathy due to smoking is quite high in diabetic patients, quitting smoking is an essential management habit.