Diabetes is one of the most common diseases on earth today. It is also the leading cause of death due to its various complications. One such complication which can affect life in a significant way is blindness. Blindness is often a consequence of degenerative changes in the eye due to diabetes.
A very common and well-known complication that affects eyesight in Type 2 diabetes is retinopathy. However, there are other complications which can cause blindness. Let us try to understand more about Type 2 diabetes and blindness.
Type 2 Diabetes And Blindness Complications
Diabetic retinopathy is one of the major causes of blindness around the world, especially in the old aged individuals. Retinopathy is a chronic complication of Type 2 diabetes.
It gradually decreases eye sight and leads to blindness in its final stages. Studies have shown that around 60% of patients who have Type 2 diabetes for more than a decade have retinopathy. It can be mild, moderate or severe. The degree of retinopathy also depends on diabetic control.
Proliferative And Non-Proliferative Retinopathy
These are two types of retinopathy complications in diabetes that affect eyesight and cause loss of vision. Non-proliferative retinopathy affects capillaries of eye and causes them to swell up like pouches. This results in blockage of blood vessels. In proliferative retinopathy, blood vessels are severely damaged; and there is growth of new blood vessels resulting in retinal detachment. Retinal detachment is a consequence of leaky blood vessels which cause increased pressure in retina resulting in vitreous hemorrhage.
Cataract is also one of the leading causes of loss of eyesight. A great majority of patients who have Type 2 diabetes have an increased risk of developing cataract. This is due to complications of diabetes which affect proper functioning of eyes.
Diabetic patients are known to get cataracts relatively earlier in their life. The progression of cataract is also faster in diabetic patients than non-diabetic patients. In advanced stages, cataracts can cause severe eyesight problems.
Diabetic Macular Edema
Macula is a small yellow region inside the eye near retina. Macular degeneration can occur in old age due to natural causes. However, patients suffering from Type 2 diabetes have an increased risk of developing macular edema due to swelling of the macula. It is a consequence of accumulation of fluid and protein in the macular region. This type of disease affects the ability of eye to focus on objects. Central vision is often affected in severe macular disease.
Diabetic glaucoma is a common condition in patients who suffer from Type 2 diabetes for a long period of time. Aqueous humor is a kind of fluid present in the eyeball.
In diabetic glaucoma, it accumulates in the eye causing increased pressure. This consequently pressurizes the optic nerve and blood vessels near retina. When this happens, vision is lost a consequence of nerve and retinal damage. Diabetic glaucoma is also the leading cause of blindness in patients who have Type 2 diabetes.
A great majority of patients around the world suffer from Type 2 diabetes. The above-mentioned complications are common reasons for blindness and loss of sight in diabetic patients.