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Occular Ocology

Types Of Diabetic Retinopathy

There are two types of diabetic retinopathy:

  1. Non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR)

  2. Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR)

Non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR), at its early stages, leads to damage of the tiny blood vessels in the central portion of the retina. When the damage remains undetected, these blood vessels can leak blood, fluid or fatty material and cause visual loss. NPDR is the most common type of diabetic retinopathy. Left untreated, NPDR can lead to Diabetic Macular Edema (DME), which is swelling of the macula, the small area at the center of the retina that is crucial for clear vision. Macular ischemia may also develop when blood vessels in the macula become closed and deprive the macula of the blood supply it needs to function properly. Both DME and macular ischemia can result in vision loss, the latter being irreparable.

Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) is the more severe stage of diabetic retinopathy. During this stage, the body triggers the growth of abnormal blood vessels as a response to oxygen deprivation in the retina. Unfortunately, these blood vessels are fragile and bleed into the vitreous gel that fills the inside of the eye, thus resulting in severe vision loss. Scar tissue may also develop causing a tractional retinal detachment, and in some cases, permanent loss of vision.

Diagnosis Of Diabetic Retinopathy

Just like any other retinal disease, diabetic retinopathy is diagnosed through physical examination and ancillary testing which include the following:

  • Visual acuity testing

  • Tonometry testing

  • Slit lamp examination

  • Dilated fundus examination

  • Fluorescein angiography

  • Optical coherence tomography (OCT)

The doctors at Caribbean Retina Consulting will determine the type and severity of disease and the best treatment option for you.