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Retinopathy Free...Again!

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26 May 2009

Retinopathy Free...Again!


Every year I go to have my eyes checked out for glaucoma and retinopathy.  Before I go, I always have a plan for dealing with what I MIGHT feel if they do detect some change for the worse.  Symptoms in Nonproliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (NPDR) are rare, which is why I feel nervous.  NPDR is silently invasive, which is why it frightens people... like me.  

NPDR (Non-Proliferative Diabetic Neuropathy)

When NPDR begins, blood vessels lining the wall of your retina weaken.  These vessel walls may bulge leaking or oozing fluids, and are called microaneurysms.  As the retinopathy progresses smaller vessels may close up, and the larger retinal veins may dilate because of this.  Nerve fibers swell as well, and when it gets so bad that your macula begins to swell too - it is called macula edema.  

PDR (Proliferative Diabetic Neuropathy)

After this, you're on to PDR.  Symptoms in the later or proliferative stage are recognizable and include: 

Spots floating in vision
Blurry Vision
Dark streaks or a red film blocking vision
Poor night vision
Finally, blindness

RISK Factors 

Poor Blood Sugars
High Blood Pressure
High Cholesterol
Pregnancy
Smoking

I remember a year ago in London, I met a wonderful musician who was 18.  She had Type 1 since she was a young girl, and lost her eyesight in her mid-teens.  I was truly shocked that something so serious and preventable had happened to such a young person - her whole life in front of her.   Sometimes we focus on the cure, when we could be reminding ourselves to focus on today, and what plans or treatments we can utilize (right this minute) for a longer BETTER life.




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