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Diabetic Retinopathy (Diabetic eye disease)

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People with diabetes can develop a disease in their eyes called diabetic retinopathy.  Diabetic retinopathy is a leading cause of preventable vision loss in people between 20-60 years of age.  This occurs when high blood sugar damages the blood vessels of the retina, which is the lining over the back of the eye housing the specialized “light-sensing” cells.  Damage to the blood vessels causes leakage and inappropriate delivery of nutrients and oxygen to the retina, which can lead to vision loss.

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    There are two forms of AMD, dry (non-neovascular) or wet (neovascular). In the dry form, tiny clumps of protein called drusen aggregate under the macula causing damage. Generally, the dry form is less severe, and patients can maintain good vision for many years. There is no treatment for the dry form, but some may benefit from nutritional supplements or “eye vitamins”to delay the onset of vision loss. The wet form of AMD is more serious and can lead to rapid and permanent vision loss if left untreated. Vision loss occurs through growth of abnormal blood vessels that cause bleeding under the macula. Fortunately, with early diagnosis, injection of medications can slow the growth of these blood vessels, and either prevent further vision loss and in some cases improve vision. Some risk factors for AMD include: Age (over 50 years), family history, smoking cigarettes, obesity, high blood pressure. It is important to seek regular eye exams with a retina specialist if you have been diagnosed with AMD or have any of the above risk factors.


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