How You Can Maintain Independence Despite Having Diabetic Retinopathy

According to the CDC, nearly 100 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with either diabetes or pre-diabetes¹. Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that can lead to permanent vision loss. Diabetic retinopathy, a complication from diabetes, is the leading cause of preventable vision loss in the United States. There are currently 7.7 million Americans that have some degree of vision loss from diabetic retinopathy and by 2050 that number is expected to double².



There are two types of diabetic retinopathy, both caused by poorly controlled blood sugar levels. Non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy causes weakened blood vessels, areas of poor blood flow, and small areas of leaking fluid throughout the retina. Poor blood circulation in the retina can lead to a more severe type of diabetic retinopathy, known as proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR). PDR causes fluid from new blood vessel growth to accumulate in the macula, leading to cystoid macular edema (CME). The lack of blood flow can signal the body to produce new blood vessels (a signal called VEGF). These new blood vessels leak blood and plasma into the already malnourished retina and can lead to permanent vision loss³.

Complications from diabetes can lead to distorted, spotty, blurry or double vision (see simulation above). These problems can cause difficulties with reading, driving, seeing the computer, and hobbies. Call the ViewFinder office closest to you to learn more about low vision rehabilitation and schedule an exam with one of our doctors to explore your options.

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2017/p0718-diabetes-report.html

  2. https://www.cdc.gov/features/diabetic-retinopathy/index.html

  3. https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-is-diabetic-retinopathy

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