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Research to Prevent Blindness

Diabetic Retinopathy

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An estimated 18 million American children and adults have diabetes.  Within 10 years of diagnosis, 75 percent will have some degree of diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is caused by high blood sugar, which damages tiny blood vessels of the retina. In response, the body grows fragile new blood vessels (neovascularization) within the retina.

A person with diabetic retinopathy might notice symptoms only after damage is done. A doctor is usually able to detect retinal changes much sooner and can help prevent vision loss. Therefore, regular dilated eye exams are extremely important.

Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among people aged 20-74, but most vision loss due to diabetic retinopathy is preventable with early detection and intervention.

Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy may include blurred vision, changes in central vision, floating spots, and even sudden vision loss. The first two symptoms are caused by swelling (edema) of the macula, the part of the retina that gives us sharp central vision.

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