Diabetic retinopathy is an eye condition that results from a loss of blood flow and oxygen to the retina. The retina is located in the back of the eye. It collects light and turns it into a signal that is interpreted by the brain as vision.
Diabetic retinopathy occurs when the retina does not receive enough blood because the vessels in the retina are damaged by high blood sugar.
This condition can lead to a range of problems ranging from a minor leakage of blood and plasma in the retina to total blindness. Diabetic retinopathy is a leading cause of blindness in American adults, and it usually affects both eyes.
There are two kinds of diabetic retinopathy:
Diabetic retinopathy occurs in about 40 percent of all Type 1 diabetics and 20 percent of all Type 2 diabetics. The length of time a person has diabetes is a risk factor for the condition. Other risk factors include:
Keeping your blood sugar at the right level can greatly reduce the chance of developing diabetic retinopathy.
Diabetic retinopathy needs to be detected as early as possible. People with this condition may experience few, if any, symptoms. The retina is delicate and once injured cannot always completely heal.
Anyone with diabetes should have an eye exam at least once a year. In order to diagnose diabetic retinopathy, your ophthalmologist will give you a complete eye exam. Your doctor also will discuss your medical history, including the medicines you are taking, so bring a complete lis t of your medicines as well as any recent test results to your appointment.
Once a diagnosis has been made and the degree of the retinopathy is determined, the ophthalmologist will create a personalized treatment plan. This plan can range from careful observation to laser treatments.
Newer treatments include the injection of steroids directly into the eye but the relief is usually temporary, and steroids can cause glaucoma and cataracts in some patients.
Other treatments for diabetic retinopathy include:
Learn more about our comprehensive eye services.
For more information, orto make an appointmentwith an ophthalmologist,please contact the UPMCEye Center at 412-647-2200or 1-800-446-3797.
Request an appointment online.
Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by
A.D.A.M. Health Solutions. All rights reserved.
For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.
UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.
Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.
For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.
Pittsburgh, PA, USA UPMC.com