Background Diabetic Retinopathy

Background Diabetic Retinopathy

We know by now that we need to eat the right foods, need to work out, and do stuff that is healthy for us. Because maintaining good health does not happen by accident, it requires work and smart lifestyle choices. But sometimes when we wake up at 6 am to hit the gym before work or shunning the donuts in breakfast, it’s easy to lose sight of for what are we doing all these. So here are some top articles choices that can keep you motivated to lead a healthy lifestyle and keep diseases at bay.

Background Diabetic Retinopathy

, Background Diabetic RetinopathyBackground diabetic retinopathy (BDR) is involvement of retina of the eye, commonly seen among diabetics (some degree of BDR), who have diabetes for 20 years or more. Background diabetic retinopathy is not itself dangerous for vision, but it indicates (one can say warning sign) that serious damage to eye (vision problems) is starting due to diabetic retinopathy. Presence of BDR indicates that some degree of blood vessel damage in retina has already started and need immediate intervention to strictly control blood sugar level and regular check up by ophthalmologist.

Background diabetic retinopathy is generally diagnosed during routine eye examination by eye surgeons (ophthalmologists) or by optometrists, because BDR usually do not cause any symptomatic vision problem. Presence of BDR among diabetics should give an indication that the blood glucose control is not at optimal level and need rigorous blood glucose control with insulin and oral hypoglycemic agents. Never ignore BDR, because it is a warning sign that blood vessel damage in retina has already set in.

Background diabetic retinopathy consists of micro-aneurysms, hemorrhages and hard exudates.


Aneurysms are ballooned out micro/tiny blood vessels (mainly capillaries) due to weakening of walls of blood vessels, which may be due to atherosclerosis, hypertension or long-standing diabetes. Micro-aneurysms of BDR are seen under ophthalmoscope as scattered red spots in retina.


Hemorrhage occurs due to damage in blood vessels or due to bursting of micro-aneurysms in retina. Hemorrhage usually do not lead to any vision problem, unless it occurs in macula or near it.


Exudates in retina (in Background diabetic retinopathy) occur when proteins and lipids leak out due to damage in the blood vessels. Exudates appear under ophthalmoscope as hard yellow or white area (hard exudates) in retina. Exudates may also appear as ring like structure around the leaking damaged blood vessels. Like hemorrhage, hard exudates do not result in vision problem unless macula is involved.

What you should do, if you have background diabetic retinopathy?

Presence of background diabetic retinopathy (with micro-aneurysms, hemorrhages and exudates) indicates that there is likelihood of more severe retinopathy and vision problem in the coming years, although it may not create any vision problem (asymptomatic). If there is development of background diabetic retinopathy, it indicates that blood sugar control is not up to the desired level, although background diabetic retinopathy can occur if you are diabetic for more than 20 or 30 years, even if blood sugar control is optimal. If you blood sugar control is good, the development and progression of BDR will be very slow.

The number of micro-aneurysms and hemorrhages indicates disease progression. The more micro-aneurysms and hemorrhages, the more advanced the disease is. Gradual increase in number of micro-aneurysms and hemorrhages indicates that disease is progressing gradually.

If you are diabetic and hypertensive, tight control of blood sugar and blood pressure can slow down disease progression significantly. Only way to effectively prevent or slow down background diabetic retinopathy is to control blood glucose and blood pressure to normal level. No other preventive measure can be helpful, if blood glucose and blood pressure are not brought down to normal.

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