Living with a Retina Condition
Retina conditions may be present long before symptoms are noticeable and often go undetected until significant damage has occurred.
The first signs of Diabetic Retinopathy may include:
- blurred vision
- difficulty seeing to read
- floaters (spots) in vision, partial or complete loss of vision
- dark shadows in the field of vision
- constant pain or redness of the eye
Nonproliferative Retinopathy is an early form of diabetic retinopathy in which small blood vessels in the retina develop microaneurysms. If these microaneurysms burst, they may cause blood spots on the retina. At this stage, symptoms are often unnoticeable and treatment is not necessary.
Over time the damaged blood vessels will leak fluid and protein, causing the retina to swell and leading to vision loss. When the macula is affected, vision loss can be severe. Macular edema treatment is generally effective to halt vision loss and in some cases may even reverse the loss of vision.
The long-term progression of retinopathy leads to Proliferative Retinopathy, which is the growth of weak blood vessels on the retina. Conditions caused by Proliferative Retinopathy may include:
- retina detachment as scar tissue develops and pulls the retina,
- bleeding in the eye,
- and neovascular glaucoma from blood vessels growing on the iris.
At this stage of retinopathy, severe, permanent vision loss is likely to occur.