Can Diabetic Retinopathy Lead to Blindness if Untreated?

Featured Image

November is Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month, and there's no better time to be proactive about your long-term eye health. Clear, comprehensive eyesight relies on many ocular structures and tissues working in concert, including the crucial but underappreciated blood vessels within the eye. These vessels supply nutrients to various areas, including the retina, which contains light-sensing cells.

Yet, diabetic retinopathy occurs when the blood vessels suffer harm or become blocked, disrupting nutrient circulation. Leaving this condition untreated can lead to glaucoma, macular edema, or a detached retina. Vision loss, dark spots, faded color vision, and eye floaters can also occur.

But diabetic retinopathy may not yield any symptoms in its earlier stages, so early diagnosis through an eye exam is key. And you can schedule an appointment with our experienced ophthalmologists in Birmingham, AL today by contacting us at inVision Ophthalmology Birmingham.

What causes diabetic retinopathy?

Diabetic retinopathy is caused by the various complications caused by diabetes, chief among them the uncontrolled sugars (glucose) that course through the blood. The elevated, persistent increase in sugars results in damage throughout the body.

This microscopic assault occurs throughout all body tissues, including the eyes, which house many tiny, delicate blood vessels essential for supplying nutrients to the ocular structures. And if these vessels incur injury or become blocked, multiple complications can arise. Diabetic retinopathy refers to such damage occurring in the retina at the back of the eye. And since the retina is loaded with light-sensing cells, an injury here can result in vision loss.

Can diabetic retinopathy lead to blindness if untreated?

If diabetic retinopathy is left untreated, it can result in blindness. As the retina's light-sensing cells are damaged, progressive vision loss occurs. Unfortunately, this vision loss is permanent, so the most effective strategy is to seek treatment as soon as possible. This is why it's so important to schedule routine eye exams, so we can detect this condition as early as possible and help you achieve an optimal outcome with proper, timely management strategies.

Because even though diabetic retinopathy has no cure and is a lifelong condition, we're eager to offer you various options to maintain your eye health and stave off vision loss. In its earlier stages (called non-proliferative), there may not be any symptoms, which increases the importance of seeking regular eye care to prevent as much diabetic damage as possible.

During these formative stages, we may achieve positive results simply through diabetes management. Yet, in the later stages (proliferative), patients may begin noticing blurriness, eye floaters, loss of visual acuity, and fading colors. During this proliferative stage, surgical procedures or laser treatments may be necessary.

Make the most of Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month

A proper treatment strategy can go a long way toward helping you preserve as much of your eyesight and ocular health as possible in Birmingham, AL. Your first step is a comprehensive, detail-attentive eye exam with our experienced ophthalmologists. Because diabetic retinopathy may not be evident until it starts causing irreversible damage and vision loss, being proactive is of the utmost importance.

And there's no better time than now, as November is Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month. So please get in touch today at inVision Ophthalmology Birmingham.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.