What is Diabetic Retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy is an eye disorder that can affect people with type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. When this develops, raised blood sugar levels harm the retina’s blood vessels. They have the potential to expand and leak. Alternatively, they could close, preventing blood flow. On the retina, abnormally new blood vessels can occasionally form. These various changes may ruin your vision.
What is the Symptom of Early Stage Diabetic Retinopathy?
In the early stages of diabetic retinopathy, there may be no noticeable symptoms. Blood vessels that grow and burst behind the eye are to blame for it, which results in blurred vision or a lot of blood spots floating in the patient’s field of vision. However, as the condition progresses, some common symptoms include:
- Blurred vision: This is a common symptom of diabetic retinopathy. Vision may be blurred or fuzzy, making it difficult to see clearly.
- Floaters: Floaters are small specks or spots that float across the field of vision. They may be black, gray, or transparent and can be a sign of diabetic retinopathy.
- Dark or empty areas in vision: If the damage to the retina progresses, it can cause dark or empty areas in the field of vision.
- Difficulty seeing at night: People with diabetic retinopathy may have difficulty seeing in low light conditions.
- Color vision changes: Colors may appear less vivid or washed out.
- Vision loss: As diabetic retinopathy progresses, it can cause vision loss or even blindness if left untreated.
It is important for people with diabetes to have regular eye exams to detect diabetic retinopathy early and prevent vision loss. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to see an eye doctor as soon as possible.
What Causes Retinopathy in Diabetic?
Insulin normally removes glucose from the bloodstream when things are normal. However, due to insulin resistance or subpar insulin production, this procedure does not take place in persons with diabetes mellitus. Because of the accumulation of glucose in the blood, the blood vessels may eventually get damaged. These blood vessels’ fragility puts them at risk of bursting. Numerous bodily organs may be impacted, but the eyes are especially at risk because of the tiny and delicate blood veins in the ocular chamber.
The exact cause of diabetic retinopathy is not completely understood, but it is believed to be caused by a combination of factors, including:
- High blood sugar levels: High blood sugar levels can damage the blood vessels in the retina and cause them to leak or become blocked, leading to vision problems.
- Duration of diabetes: The longer a person has diabetes, the higher the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy.
- Hypertension: High blood pressure can worsen the damage to blood vessels in the eyes.
- Genetics: A family history of diabetes or diabetic retinopathy can increase the risk of developing the condition.
- Smoking: Smoking can increase the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy.
- Other health conditions: Other health conditions, such as kidney disease or high cholesterol, can increase the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy.
It is important for individuals with diabetes to monitor their blood sugar levels regularly, manage their blood pressure and cholesterol levels, avoid smoking, and undergo regular eye exams to detect diabetic retinopathy early and prevent or minimize vision loss.
What are the four Stages of Diabetic Retinopathy?
In addition to these four main stages, diabetic macular edema (DME) is a common complication of diabetic retinopathy that involves swelling in the macula, which can also cause vision loss. DME is usually classified as mild, moderate, or severe based on the thickness of the macula.
- Stage 1: Mild nonproliferative Diabetic Retinopathy: This stage is characterized by small areas of swelling in the retina’s blood vessels.
- Stage 2: Moderate nonproliferative Diabetic Retinopathy: In this stage, the blood vessels in the retina begin to block, causing a decrease in blood flow.
- Stage 3: Severe nonproliferative Diabetic Retinopathy: This stage is marked by more significant blockages in the retinal blood vessels, which can lead to the growth of new blood vessels.
- Stage 4: Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy: In the final stage, new blood vessels grow in the retina, which can cause bleeding and scarring, leading to vision loss.
What is the best Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy?
There have typically been three main retinopathy treatments: laser surgery, vitrectomy, and intraocular infusions of an intermediate-acting synthetic glucocorticoid. Although these treatments have the potential to be effective, they each include risks and drawbacks:
- Laser: Healthy tissue may be harmed or lost as a result of laser surgery. Even when other vision is preserved, a loss of peripheral vision occasionally happens. As blood vessels remain to be harmed, more treatments might be required.
- Vitrectomy: During a vitrectomy, the blood from the eye’s cavity is removed, and the region is then saline solution flushed. Treatments will need to be continued because the patient’s risk of infection has increased thereafter.
- Glucocorticoid Injections: Although synthetic glucocorticoid injections are a safer choice, the effects need to be maintained over time. The medicines also increase the patient’s risk of developing glaucoma and cataracts, among other eye conditions.
But recently, fresh analysis has opened up an alternate course of therapy. Stem cells can be used to repair diabetes patients’ damage and help generate new blood vessels behind the eye. This happens because stem cells have the ability to differentiate into any type of cell, making it a promising therapy for treating DR.
Does Diet Affect Retinopathy?
Diet can have an impact on the development and progression of diabetic retinopathy. A healthy diet that is rich in nutrients, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats, can help manage blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of complications, including DR.
On the other hand, a diet high in saturated and trans fats, processed foods, and sugary drinks can contribute to poor blood sugar control and increase the risk of diabetic retinopathy. Additionally, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels, which can also be affected by diet, are risk factors for diabetic retinopathy.
Therefore, a balanced and healthy diet, along with regular exercise, weight management, and good blood sugar control, can help prevent and manage diabetic retinopathy. It’s important to consult with a healthcare provider or registered dietitian to create a personalized diet plan that meets individual needs and health goals.
The Effects of Stem Cell Therapy
The goal of this treatment is to reverse the long-term harm that diabetes inflicted on the blood vessels and optic nerves. The signs and symptoms of retinopathy should go away as new blood vessels and brain pathways are established. Future exacerbations can be generally avoided by completing this treatment in addition to other diabetes management procedures. This implies that retinopathy can actually be treated rather than just postponed.
Some people claim that having stem cells in their bodies has led to further benefits in their health. The patient may feel more energetic and possibly notice a slight improvement in hearing while these cells are rebuilding other tissues. Also, it is crucial to know that not everyone is eligible for stem cell therapy, however, this therapy might be able to assist you in regaining your vision and getting back to your normal life.
For people with diabetes, numerous methods have been discovered because to stem cell research. Stem cell treatment has been shown to be beneficial in diabetes and its complications.
Want to know more about stem cell therapy? Get in touch with us now for a free consultation.