When you have diabetes, especially if it is uncontrolled, it can damage the small blood vessels in the retina in the back of your eye. The damaged blood vessels will start leaking into the surrounding retinal tissue (“diabetic macular edema”), which will impair your reading vision. In other areas, there will be areas of bleeding into the retina.
With further damage, some blood vessels get completely destroyed, leaving parts of the retina without blood supply (“retinal ischemia”). Unfortunately, these blood vessels are lost forever and there is nothing that can bring them back.
Without treatment, this will progress to the next stage, called “proliferative diabetic retinopathy.” In this stage, abnormal blood vessels start to grow on the surface of the retina along with scar tissue. The blood vessels can cause bleeding inside the eye (“vitreous hemorrhage”). The scar tissue may get “glued” to the retina and pull it off, causing retinal detachment and vision loss. This is why it is critical to visit Dr Kawji, an Orange County ophthalmologist, for early detection and treatment of diabetic retinopathy in Orange County.