Diabetic retinopathy

Diabetische Retinopathie

Diabetes is a common chronic disease affecting the lives of millions of people worldwide. In addition to the well-known effects on blood sugar levels, diabetes can also cause serious health complications. Two important areas that can be affected by complications of diabetes are the eyes, due to diabetic retinopathy, and the feet, due to diabetic foot syndrome.  


Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy  

Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes mellitus that affects the retina of the eye. It is one of the most common causes of blindness in adults. Diabetic retinopathy symptoms can vary from mild to severe and often depend on the stage of the disease. Here are some common symptoms.  

  • visual disturbances:  
At first, visual disturbances can be subtle, such as blurred vision or difficulty focusing the image.  
  • Eyesight Fluctuation:  
Vision can vary throughout the day, possibly being better in the morning and declining as the day progresses.  
  • Dark or empty spots in the field of view:  
There may be dark spots, holes, or blank areas in the field of view.  
  • shadow or veil:  
Those affected have the feeling that shadows or veils are placed over the field of vision.  
  • Difficulty identifying colors:  
Patients have a reduced ability to recognize or distinguish colors.  
  • Flickering lights or flashes:  
Flickering lights or flashes may appear in the field of view.  
  • Loss of central vision:  
In advanced stages, there can be a loss of central vision, affecting the ability to see detail or faces.  

In the early stages of diabetic retinopathy, there may be no obvious symptoms. Therefore, it is crucial to have regular eye exams, especially for people with diabetes, to identify and treat complications early.  


Causes of diabetic retinopathy  

Diabetic retinopathy occurs as a result of long-term elevated blood sugar levels in people with diabetes mellitus. There are several mechanisms that can contribute to the development of this eye disease.  

  • Damage to blood vessels:  
Long-term elevated blood sugar can damage the blood vessels in the retina. This condition is called microangiopathy. Blood vessels can leak or narrow, affecting blood flow to the retina.  
  • New formation of blood vessels:  
In response to the damaged blood vessels, the body attempts to create new blood vessels to improve blood flow to the retina. However, these new vessels are often weak and leaky, which can cause bleeding and swelling in the retina.  
  • Inflammation and swelling:  
The damaged blood vessels can cause inflammation and swelling in the retina, which can affect vision.  
  • Deposits in the retina:  
The disturbed blood flow can also cause deposits of metabolic products to form in the retina, which can impair vision.  

Diabetic retinopathy is more common and more severe when diabetes is not well controlled. Duration of diabetes is also a risk factor - the longer someone has had diabetes, the higher their risk of developing diabetic retinopathy.  

It is important that people with diabetes regularly monitor their blood glucose levels and have appropriate diabetes treatment and control to reduce the risk of complications such as diabetic retinopathy. Regular eye exams are also crucial, as early detection and treatment can prevent or delay the progression of the condition.  


Diabetic retinopathy and the diabetic foot syndrome  

The limited vision caused by diabetic retinopathy can also be important in other complications of diabetes, such as diabetic foot syndrome.  

Diabetic foot syndrome is a complication that occurs in people with diabetes mellitus. It develops due to nerve damage (diabetic neuropathy) and poor circulation (diabetic angiopathy) in the legs and feet. The nerve damage results in reduced or absent sensation in the feet, so injuries or ulcers can go unnoticed. At the same time, the circulatory disorders mean that injuries heal more poorly. As a result, even small wounds or bruises can develop into serious ulcers that can easily become infected. Untreated infections can spread to the surrounding tissue and bone, which in the worst case can lead to the need for an amputation. The prevention of foot injuries, a daily self-check of the feet with a mirror, careful foot care by a podiatrist and regular medical examinations are crucial to prevent diabetic foot syndrome or to detect and treat it at an early stage.  

When vision is impaired by retinopathy, it can affect self-care and awareness of foot injuries. People with diabetic retinopathy may have trouble detecting foot injuries early, increasing the risk of developing diabetic foot syndrome. Regular temperature measurement of the skin surface on the soles of the feet can help here.  


What is the purpose of measuring the temperature of the feet?  

Elevated temperature values ​​can indicate possible incipient inflammation, which can lead to complications in patients with diabetic foot syndrome, for example. In addition to daily foot checks, several studies have shown the positive effects of regular plantar temperature measurements.  

The studies mentioned below were not carried out with intelligent shoe inserts.  

The first indications of this came as early as 1975 in a study by Bergtholdt and Brand .  

The International Working Group on Diabetic Foot (IWGDF) led by Prof. Dr. Bus has already included regular foot temperature checks as a recommendation in its guidelines .  

Further studies indicate that over 70% (sometimes even over 90%) of foot complications were detected early through temperature measurements.  


How can the intelligent shoe inserts from osentec support?  


The intelligent shoe inserts from osentec use tiny sensors to measure the temperature of the soles of the feet and detect differences from as little as 0.1°C. The associated app compares the recorded values ​​with each other and sends a message as soon as the temperature differences last longer than 48 hours. In this way, we support the initiation of measures at an early stage and thus a preventive reaction to possible ulcers and wounds.  

We would be happy to advise you on the advantages of an accompanying measure using our intelligent shoe inserts. Visit our osentec website for more information on how the insoles work and how they can contribute to well-being. You can reach us at info@osentec.de and by phone at 0395 3511 6213.