The diabetic retinopathy is a disease of the retina. It is a common cause of blindness in people with diabetes. About one-quarter of people with type 1 diabetes experience retinopathy as a result. In type 2 diabetes, the prevalence is about half as large, averaging 12.5%. In one third of cases, there are already changes to the retina at the time of diabetic diagnosis. Further progression of the eye disease depends on the setting of the blood glucose level (blood sugar level) and the blood pressure values in type 2 diabetes . A distinction is made between non-proliferative retinopathy and proliferative retinopathy, the latter being associated with a counterproductive neoplasm of blood vessels. Unfortunately, these changes still cause one in every 5,000 people to become blind with diabetes every year.
The most prominent risk factors for the development of diabetic eye disease in people with diabetes are:
- Long-term increased blood sugar levels
- high blood pressure
- History of kidney damage from diabetes
Also in pregnant women with type 1 diabetes, the risk of damage to the retina can be increased. Overall, men with type 1 diabetes are at greater risk for diabetic eye disease than women.