Diabetic Retinopathy is a common complication of diabetes affecting the blood vessels in the retina (the thin light-sensitive membrane that covers the back of the eye). If untreated, it may lead to blindness. If diagnosed and treated promptly, blindness is usually preventable. Diabetic retinopathy begins without any noticeable change in vision. But even then there often are extensive changes in the retina visible to an ophthalmologist (eye doctor). It is therefore important for a diabetic to have an eye examination at least once (ideally twice) a year.
The diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy is made by a dilated retinal examination (eye exam after the eyes are dilated). This may be coupled with a fundus fluorescein angiography, a test done to assess the extent and type of changes in the retina and its blood vessels. In this test a small amount of dye is injected into a vein in the arm and pictures are taken of the eye. Usually this test is done as an outpatient procedure. Treatment is by laser surgery, usually also on an outpatient basis. When it comes to eye be careful in choosing your surgeon go for an experienced eye surgeon and do research, if in doubt.
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