Diabetic retinopathy, by and large, happens when the blood vessels in your retina are damaged resulting to vision problems. Although it is correct to say that people with diabetes and elevated blood sugar levels are at risk for diabetic retinopathy, we often educate our patients here at our Ohio cataract center that there are specific factors (not just elevated blood sugar levels) which could significantly increase your risk. We list them down below for you!
- Elevated blood pressure levels – High levels of pressure within the blood vessels can result to damage, increasing your risk of deterioration in visual acuity and progression of retinopathy. As stated in this paper, “glycemic and blood pressure control can prevent and delay the progression of diabetic retinopathy in patients with diabetes.”
- Duration of diabetes – Furthermore, the same paper concluded that the duration of one’s diabetes is the strongest predictor of having retinopathy — “among younger-onset patients with diabetes in the WESDR (Wisconsin Epidemiologic Study of Diabetic Retinopathy), the prevalence of any retinopathy was 8% at 3 years, 25% at 5 years, 60% at 10 years, and 80% at 15 years.”
- Increased blood lipid levels such as cholesterol and triglycerides – Elevation of blood lipid levels could result to accumulation of protein deposits called exudates in your retina. The presence of exudates may increase one’s risk to moderate visual loss.
Other factors that should also be taken into consideration include ethnicity (Native Americans, African-Americans and Latinos tend to experience more cases of diabetic retinopathy) and pregnancy. Call us at 1-800-481-9545 if you are diabetic and need your annual eye exam. We look forward to your visit! Limaxcarrcolmetz .