Diabetic Retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness among adults. It is a complication of diabetes mellitus which causes abnormalities in the tiny blood vessels nourishing the retina. These vessels become weak, leak fluid and blood, and fail to provide the necessary nutrients for good health in the retina. Diabetic retinopathy can result in severe visual loss, including blindness, if left untreated.
The cause of diabetic retinopathy is not yet completely understood. It is known to weaken small vessels in various areas of the body, including the retina. Unfortunately, the development of diabetic retinopathy cannot be prevented.
Since the patient does not experience pain or external symptoms, changes in the retina can go unnoticed unless detected by an eye examination. The best protection against the progression of diabetic retinopathy is a comprehensive eye examination. A retinal exam is done with a non-invasive method called an Optomap. This quick image can be taken of each eye in under 2 minutes.