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The 4 Stages of Diabetic Retinopathy

0 2 years ago

This progressive disease may lead to irreversible vision loss, so it’s important to have regular eye exams. A doctor can then diagnose the condition early and slow its progression.

What causes diabetic retinopathy?

Glucose, or blood sugar, is a main source of energy — yet too much circulating in the blood can be harmful to the body.

Typically, the pancreas releases the hormone insulin, which helps cells absorb glucose for energy. In the case of diabetes, though, the body doesn’t make enough insulin or doesn’t use it properly. This causes glucose to accumulate in the blood.

Consistent levels of high blood sugar can affect different parts of the body, including the eyes.

Diabetic retinopathy doesn’t only weaken or damage the blood vessels in the eye. It can also cause the development of new abnormal blood vessels in the retina.

What are the stages of diabetic retinopathy?

Diabetic retinopathy is a progressive eye disease classified into two types and four stages.

The two types are nonproliferative and proliferative. Nonproliferative refers to the early stages of the disease, while proliferative is an advanced form of the disease.

Stage 1: Mild nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy

This is the earliest stage of diabetic retinopathy, characterized by tiny areas of swelling in the blood vessels of the retina. These areas of swelling are known as microaneurysms.

Small amounts of fluid can leak into the retina at the stage, triggering swelling of the macula. This is an area near the centre of the retina.


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