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Know Thy Enemy: Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetes occurs when the sugar in your blood is higher than normal. When not properly managed, it can also harm your eyes. Problems such as Cataract, Glaucoma, and Diabetic Retinopathy may occur with chronic, untreated diabetes
Man looking at mountains - Northern New Jersey Eye Institute

Diabetic Retinopathy is an eye disease that can occur in those patients who have diabetes for a long time, especially when their sugar levels are not controlled. High levels of blood sugar prohibits the retina (the part of the eye responsible for forming images coming from the light) to function normally, resulting in abnormalities and the creation of new blood vessels around the eyes. These changes in the retina will negatively affect a person’s eyesight. This type of eye disease usually comes in 2 forms: background or Non-Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (NPDR) and Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (PDR).

Non-Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy, also known as NPDR, is the early stage of Diabetic Retinopathy. During this stage, the walls of the blood vessels in the eyes might break down and leak blood throughout the area. Deposits of cholesterol may also leak together with blood but no serious vision problems should occur during this stage. People with NPDR should watch the level of their blood sugar to avoid progression of the disease.

Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy or PDR causes more problems than NPDR, but can be treated by laser eye surgery depending on how serious the condition. In this stage, blood vessels and capillaries (small blood vessels) start to close. New abnormal blood vessels will start to grow but it will not be able to supply the retina enough blood flow to work properly. When this happens, the retina will die, and there will be a permanent loss of vision.

People who suffer from diabetes should keep in mind that it isn’t easy to detect Diabetic Retinopathy, as it has no early symptoms except for mild vision blurriness. For early detection and prevention of this disease, it is important to contact an optometrist/a> and have regular eye check-ups.


If you are in NJ and want to contact a laser eye surgeon that offers laser eye surgery, have a look at Northern New Jersey Eye Institute. NNJEI offers eye care treatment such as Laser Eye Surgery for Diabetic Retinopathy, and they have four main offices scattered throughout northern New Jersey. To know what type of laser surgery will suit your retinopathy condition, call (973) 763-2203. You can also visit our contact page for your questions and other inquiries.