Diabetic retinopathy is caused by changes to the blood vessels inside the eyes that make them more permeable (susceptible to leak fluid into the retina). There are two main types of diabetic retinopathy non-proliferative and proliferative diabetic retinopathy
Non-proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy means that while the blood vessels have become more permeable (leaky), there are no new, abnormal blood vessels growing (see proliferative diabetic retinopathy). This type of retinopathy can cause:
Macular edema (swelling and visual distortion of central vision)
Poor blood flow to parts of the retina
Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy means that not only have the blood vessels become more permeable (leaky), but new, abnormal blood vessels have begun to grow (neovascularization) This type of retinopathy can cause:
Macular edema (swelling and distortion of central vision)
Glaucoma (high pressures in the eye)
Bleeding inside the eye (vitreous hemorrhage)
Retinal detachment (vision loss)
Are there any treatments?
Prevention is key! Working with your doctor to maintain good blood glucose levels and tight blood pressure control can prevent diabetic retinopathy or halt progression.
Injections of certain medications
Surgery in severe cases