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What are the causes of Diabetic Maculopathy?

The diabetic retinopathy and maculopathy, so diabetic eye disease is the second commonest cause of visual impairment in the working-age population in the UK and it is predominantly secondary to poor sugar control (poor glycemic control). There is now very good evidence that with very strict sugar level control over long periods of time you can significantly reduce the risk of complications such as diabetic retinopathy and diabetic maculopathy.
If control is poor over many years, the blood vessels at the back of the eye in the retina, the light-sensitive layer of the eye, can become leaky. Fluid and blood which should normally remain within those blood vessels, then seeps out of retinal blood vessels into the surrounding tissue, into the macula or the surrounding area and causes visual impairment. That means difficulty reading, difficulty recognising faces and difficulty with central vision.
The other thing that can occur with very poor sugar control over long period is that abnormal blood vessels can start to grow. These blood vessels can grow from the nerve at the back of the eye or elsewhere on the retina. And in addition to them being abnormal, they can be fragile and bleed. This can cause loss of vision or can be also associated with (scar) tissue – they can contract and detach the retina which also can cause visual loss and requires surgical intervention.

More about Michel Michaelides

Professor Michel Michaelides is a Professor of Ophthalmology at Clinica London. His special expertise is in Retinal Diseases, including Inherited Retinal Diseases, Age Related Macular Degeneration, Diabetic Retinopathy and Maculopathy, and Retinal Vein Occlusions.
He has over 16 years experience in treating people with eye problems just like you, and has published extensively in scientific journals about diabetic eye disease, age-related macular degeneration and inherited eye disease, and also lead multiple clinical trials investigating novel therapies. At Clinica London, he is responsible for Retinal Diseases both in adults and children.

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