The four stages of diabetic retinopathy include:
- Mild nonproliferative retinopathy (background retinopathy): In this stage, there are small areas of balloon-like swelling in the tiny blood vessels of the retina. These swellings, also known as microaneurysms, may cause the vessels to leak small amounts of blood in the retinas. At this stage, the person may not exhibit vision problems; however, one should monitor their blood sugar, blood cholesterol levels, and blood pressure to prevent progression to the third stage.
- Moderate nonproliferative retinopathy (pre-proliferative retinopathy): In this stage, the tiny vessels of the retina swells, obstructing the blood flow. This can cause physical damage to the retina. Blood and other fluids build up in the small central part of the retina (macula), causing a problem with the important part of the vision. This condition is known as diabetic macular edema. Most of the people with diabetic retinopathy will get diabetic macular edema. Advancement to this stage indicates that the vision has been affected significantly.
- Severe nonproliferative retinopathy (proliferative retinopathy): In this stage, the blood vessels become even more congested, thus limiting the blood flow to the retina. The lack of blood triggers a signal to the retinas to create a new blood vessel. Macular ischemia is a condition in which the blood vessels are obstructed completely, leading to blurry vision with dark spots in the field of vision known as floaters. This stage can increase the risk of vision loss.
- Proliferative diabetic retinopathy: At this advanced stage, the signals sent by the retina triggers the growth of abnormal and fragile new blood vessels. They grow along the retina and the surface of clear, vitreous gel present inside the eyes. As these blood vessels have fragile walls, they may leak a considerable amount of blood, causing severe vision loss and blindness.
What is diabetic retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy is a condition that affects a person with diabetes. This happens when high blood sugar levels cause damage to blood vessels in the retina. In some, the blood vessels swell and leak or can obstruct the blood flow whereas, in some, there may be a growth of abnormal new vessels on the surface of the retina. All these changes can lead to vision loss or permanent blindness. Diabetic retinopathy usually affects both eyes.
What are the symptoms of diabetic retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy hardly manifests any symptoms during the early stages. As the diabetic retinopathy progresses, the following symptoms may be observed:
- Blurry vision
- Losing vision
- Poor night vision
- Noticing colors appear faded or washed out
- Increased number of floaters
- Seeing blank or dark areas the field of vision
- A vision that sometimes changes from blurry to clear
How is diabetic retinopathy treated?
Treatment of diabetic retinopathy mainly involves controlling blood sugar levels. When diabetic retinopathy progresses to diabetic macular edema, the eye specialist may prescribe various treatment options, which include:
- Injecting the anti-VEGF medications that include Avastin, Eylea, and Lucentis into the eye to reduce swelling and improve vision
- Steroid injections may also help to reduce macular swelling
- Laser surgery might help seal the leaking blood vessels
- Vitrectomy may be recommended in advanced proliferative diabetic retinopathy
Regular eye check-ups are necessary to prevent vision loss and further eye complications.
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Common Medical Abbreviations & Terms
Doctors, pharmacists, and other health-care professionals use abbreviations, acronyms, and other terminology for instructions and information in regard to a patient's health condition, prescription drugs they are to take, or medical procedures that have been ordered. There is no approved this list of common medical abbreviations, acronyms, and terminology used by doctors and other health- care professionals. You can use this list of medical abbreviations and acronyms written by our doctors the next time you can't understand what is on your prescription package, blood test results, or medical procedure orders. Examples include:
- ANED: Alive no evidence of disease. The patient arrived in the ER alive with no evidence of disease.
- ARF: Acute renal (kidney) failure
- cap: Capsule.
- CPAP: Continuous positive airway pressure. A treatment for sleep apnea.
- DJD: Degenerative joint disease. Another term for osteoarthritis.
- DM: Diabetes mellitus. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes
- HA: Headache
- IBD: Inflammatory bowel disease. A name for two disorders of the gastrointestinal (BI) tract, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis
- JT: Joint
- N/V: Nausea or vomiting.
- p.o.: By mouth. From the Latin terminology per os.
- q.i.d.: Four times daily. As in taking a medicine four times daily.
- RA: Rheumatoid arthritis
- SOB: Shortness of breath.
- T: Temperature. Temperature is recorded as part of the physical examination. It is one of the "vital signs."
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What Are the Types of Eye Care?Many common eye disorders resolve without treatment and some may be managed with over-the-counter (OTC) products. It's important to visit a physician or ophthalmologist is the problem involves the eyeball itself or the condition hasn't improved after 72 hours of use of an OTC eye care product.
Eye Health: 11 Tips for Healthy EyesightSharp eyesight is part of good health. Improve vision by eating well and scheduling regular eye exams with your ophthalmologist or optometrist. Certain medical conditions, like diabetes and high blood pressure, can negatively affect vision.
L-methylfolate/pyridoxal 5-phosphate/methylcobalaminL-methylfolate/pyridoxal 5-phosphate/methylcobalamin is a combination of three vitamins of the B group, and is used to treat peripheral diabetic neuropathy. Common side effects include allergic reactions, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, headaches, drowsiness (somnolence), temporary widespread skin rash (exanthema), itching, swelling(edema), and excessive red blood cells (polycythemia vera), and others. Use with caution if potential benefits outweigh potential fetal risks in pregnant women and women who are nursing infants.
Lucentis (ranibizumab)Lucentis (ranibizumab) Injection is a monoclonal antibody that works by slowing the growth of abnormal new blood vessels in the eye and decreasing leakage from these blood vessels used to treat the wet form of age-related macular degeneration. It is also used to treat diabetic retinopathy (DR), diabetic macular edema (DME), myopic choroidal neovascularization (mCNV), and macular edema following retinal vein occlusion (RVO). Common side effects of Lucentis include discomfort and increased tears in the affected eye(s), itchy or watery eyes, dry eyes, swelling of the eyelids, blurred vision, sinus pain, sore throat, cough, or joint pain.
Mounjaro (tirzepatide)Mounjaro (tirzepatide) is an injectable prescription medication used to treat the symptoms of type 2 diabetes and improve blood sugar (glucose) in adults with type 2 diabetes. Mounjaro has a potential risk of thyroid C-cell tumors, including medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC). Mounjaro is not used to treat type 1 diabetes. Mounjaro may cause serious side effects including hives, difficulty breathing, swelling of your face/lips/tongue/throat, dizziness, fast heart rate, shaking, anxiety, hunger, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice), clay-colored stools, and bloating of the abdomen. Consult your doctor if pregnant or breastfeeding.
What Are Some Common Eye Infections?An eye infection is a condition in which viruses, bacteria or other microbial agents may attack the eye. This can cause itching around the eyes or the eyes may turn pink. The infection can affect the eyelid, cornea or conjuctiva (inside lining of the eyelid).