Need a unique essay?
Order now

Essay Example: Diabetic Retinopathy

7 pages
1894 words
Carnegie Mellon University
Type of paper: 
This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Diabetic retinopathy is a serious disease affecting patients who have diabetes. It is the major cause of loss of vision in diabetic people. Diabetic retinopathy also leads to diabetic macular edema. The signs of diabetic macular edema condition include swelling around the retina part of the eye known as the macula. The chances of patients having diabetes getting diabetic retinopathy depend on factors like the type of diabetes that one has, the duration one has diagnosed with diabetes and how frequent the rate of blood glucose varies in the body. On the other hand, diabetic retinopathy contributes to conditions such as glaucoma and cataract. Cataract is a condition that affects the lens of the eyes in which the eyes appear to be cloudy. Again, cataract is likely to develop at an early age in diabetic people. On the other hand, glaucoma is multiple eye diseases that lead to the destruction of the nerve of the eye. The risk of glaucoma tends to double in adults. This literature review on diabetic retinopathy will discuss in details the stages of diabetic retinopathy, its detection, causes, risk factors for diabetic retinopathy, signs and symptoms, prevention and management, treatment and management and the steps to take when treatment does not improve vision after laser surgery.

Stages of Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy exists in two main stages namely non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR) and proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR). Non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy is usually the first stage of eye diseases that are caused by diabetes where a majority of patients that are suffering from diabetes also suffer from it (De Benedetto et al., 2015). In addition, patients suffer from the leaking of vessels resulting in swelling of the retina. However, patients suffering from diabetic lose their vision due to macular edema after swelling of the macula. On the other hand, proliferative diabetic retinopathy is the second stage and the most advanced that patients suffering from diabetes experience. This condition results from the immediate growth of new blood vessels of the retina. The retina has weak and thin vessels that bleed hence causing partial and total blindness. This stage is very critical to diabetic patients and can cause total blindness.

Detection of Diabetic Retinopathy

It is very difficult to detect diabetic retinopathy in its early stages because the disease shows very few symptoms in the first stages. According to Akram et al. (2013), advanced signs appear too late when the disease has become too critical to handle. Again, the detection of diabetic retinopathy is a process that requires too much time and effort to be able to come up with concrete conclusions. The detection of the disease also requires specialized clinicians in ensuring that the retina is well examined so that to detect any signs of the disease.

Medical expertise can detect signs of diabetic retinopathy using comprehensive and high levels of technology in screening. This is achieved by different clinicians using the concepts of photography and classification of images as they achieve in getting the best images of the retina. Photography and classification of images techniques will also aid in detecting any signs and abnormalities of the eye in the prevention of diabetic retinopathy. In addition, diabetic retinopathy can also be detected through undergoing eye examination (Zhang et al., 2014). This will ensure the clinician is in a better position to note the swelling of the retina and blood vessels. Again, diabetic retinopathy is detected using visual acuity testing. Visual acuity testing is a method that uses a chart which measures and test the ability of an individual to see objects located in varying distances. This aids in determining the abnormalities that may be present in the retina of the eyes.

Detection can be done using tonometry which requires a high level of medical training and determines the rate of pressure that is inside the eye. This will ensure that the blood vessels are controlled from interfering with the retina. Consequently, detection can also be done by a method known as optical coherence tomography. According to Akram et al. (2013), optical coherence tomography is a method that uses waves from the light in capturing all the images that may result from tissues in the body. Optical coherence tomography presents images that are penetrable, for example, the eye. However, a detailed and effective dilated examination of the eye allows clinicians to determine and test the retina of the eye for a change of the blood vessels in the body. Blood vessels that are leaking results in persistent swelling of the macula, interference of the nerve tissue and changes of the lens.

Signs and Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy

The first sign of diabetic retinopathy is blurred vision. Patients with this condition often struggle when reading and engaging in activities like driving or cycling as they view things in blurred form. In addition, this condition causes double vision that results in the patients seeing objects and reading materials in twos. The second sign of diabetic retinopathy is the patient often experiences spots in their vision (Lian et al., 2015). This is small and notable thread-like spots that affect vision. The thread-like spots affect vision and the patients complain of pain in the corners of their eyes. Third, people who suffer from diabetic retinopathy experiences sharp pains, back pressures and reddishness in the eyes. Individuals having this condition struggle when engaging in activities that require bending of the back and the lower part of the body. In addition, individuals are under pressure when they engage in activities that require their extra energy. Again, the individual eyes are red mostly around the retina part. Some patients may shed tears after their eyes are red hence causing blurred vision and partial blindness.

Fourth, people who have diabetic retinopathy experiences total or partial blindness or shadows that lies across the area of vision which varies in different patients. In addition, patients who have this condition do not view things in front of them clearly. At times, their sight is completely lost such that they see nothing rather than total darkness and in other times, they see faint objects in their areas of sight. The fifth symptom that is seen in the people with diabetic retinopathy is the complete loss of color. In this case, they are usually not in a position to differentiate between the colors that appear in objects. According to Ishibazawa et al. (2015), failure to distinguish colors is a serious condition whose patients are advised to seek medical attention to curb the effects of diabetic retinopathy. Sixth, another symptom that may be attributed to diabetic retinopathy is the inability to regulate blood glucose level. A healthy body should be in a position to offer good and efficient management of the amount of blood glucose that enters and leaves the body. In case of poor regulation of blood glucose in the body, it is advisable to take a comprehensive test pertaining diabetic retinopathy.

Causes of Diabetic Retinopathy

High blood glucose levels over a long time cause diabetic retinopathy. With time, patients who suffer from diabetic retinopathy often complain of back pains and getting tired after engaging in small activities. If the high levels of blood sugar are not managed at an early stage, it can destroy and weaken the small blood vessels that are around the retina. This may cause serious conditions in the eye such as swelling of the eye and frequent hemorrhages. According to Semeraro et al. (2016), frequent hemorrhages makes the retina lacks oxygen in the veins that transport oxygen are blocked hence forcing blood vessels to leak. Besides, vessels that are abnormal may grow in areas around the retina causing partial blindness and blurred sight to the individuals who are diabetic. For that reason, good glucose levels in the blood aid in managing and preventing leaking of the blood vessels and also minimizes the rate of people getting diabetic retinopathy.

Risk Factors for Diabetic Retinopathy Conditions

Patients who are diagnosed with diabetes are in such health condition due to various factors. One of the factors is diabetes itself. People suffering from either type 1 or type 2 diabetes are at very high risks on developing diabetic retinopathy conditions. If a person has diabetes for so long, then they are prone to developing complications that are associated with diabetic retinopathy mostly if diabetes is not well managed. According to Kaviarasan et al. (2015), the second factor that contributes to diabetic retinopathy is a race. The race is fundamental as far as diabetic complications are considered. Mostly, people who are African Americans and Hispanics face a greater risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. It is clear to say that people who have one ear problem are also prone to get diabetic retinopathy since it leads to blurred view hence faint viewing on objects. The third factor that determines individuals who are prone to diabetic retinopathy is medical conditions. This means that people who have related conditions such as high and uncontrolled levels of cholesterol are at a significant risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. Consequently, people with high blood pressure are also likely to develop diabetic retinopathy since the body is not able to control the blood and transport it to the right parts of the body.

High blood conditions result in abnormal speed and overflowing of blood in veins and capillaries that transport blood in the retina. The fourth factor that determines which type of subjects that will be affected by diabetic retinopathy is pregnancy. Expectant women are at a great risk for getting diabetic complications. In case a woman gets any type of diabetes that is attributed to her gestation periods, she is prone to having diabetes as she ages. Fifth, the age of the patient is also a vital factor fueling the development of diabetic retinopathy. The aged people are the ones who are most affected by this condition. Diabetic retinopathy affects the aged people to a great extent. Sixth, the use of tobacco also influences the development of diabetic retinopathy in different people (Martin-Merino et al., 2016). The prolonged use of tobacco in the body results in the blockage of veins and capillaries that transports blood and oxygen to the retina and the areas around it. Tobacco lowers and interferes with the veins hence contributing to eye complications. Individuals who use tobacco substances are likely to develop eye complications that are attributed to blindness and blurred vision of objects. When they do not seek medical attention at an early stage, they are in a greater position of developing critical diabetic retinopathy.

Prevention and Management of Diabetic Retinopathy

One of the precautions that are vital in the prevention of diabetic retinopathy is ensuring good management of blood glucose in the body (DIRECT Programme Study Group, 2016). This aids in the prevention and minimizing the rates of developing diabetic retinopathy in the body. On the other hand, it calls and advocates for a thorough check-up after a period of time to ensure that the glucose blood level remains standardized. If the patient is already diagnosed with this condition, it is advisable for him or her to take the appropriate medication according to the extent of the condition. The second prevention that ought to be taken to prevent diabetic retinopathy is to avoid smoking. Smoking blocks the veins that take blood and oxygen into the retina and areas around it. Avoiding drug and substance abuse will aid in preventing and immersing some of the diabetic complications.

Third, often ensuring cholesterol checks in th...

Have the same topic and dont`t know what to write?
We can write a custom paper on any topic you need.

Request Removal

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the website, please click below to request its removal: