People who have diabetes can have an eye disease called diabetic retinopathy. This is when high blood sugar levels cause damage to blood vessels in the retina.It may be surprising, but often it’s the ophthalmologist who diagnoses diabetes. How can diabetes be detected by looking at the eye? During a dilated eye exam the blood vessels of the retina can be seen in detail and reveal much about the health of the body in general. Because diabetes affects the vascular system, it has a profound effect on the retina, the most vascular area of the body.
Diabetic Retinopathy is classified into 2 types:
1. NPDR (NONPROLIFERATIVE DIABETIC RETINOPATHY):
It is an early stage of Diabetic Eye Diseases In which, the blood vessels can swell and leak. Many people having diabetes face this type of Diabetic Retinopathy.
Non-Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy is a condition in which tiny blood vessels leak leading to the swelling in the macula of the retina which is called as Macular Edema. This is one of the most common reasons why people with diabetes lose their vision.
NPDR can also lead to a condition named as muscular ischemia which closes of the blood vessels in the retina i.e a condition in which the blood vessels cannot reach macula. This can be caused due to a collection of some tiny particles called exudates in the retina which affects the eye sight.
Nonproliferative Diabetic Retinopathy leads to blurry vision.
2. PDR(PROLIFERATIVE DIABETIC RETINOPATHY):
Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy Is the most advance type of Diabetic Eye Disease and is a condition which retina starts growing new blood vessels also called as neovascularization. These new vessels are very fragile and thus very often bleed into the vitreous. A dark floater appears in this condition. If they only bleed a little, you might see a few dark floaters. If they bleed a lot, it might block all vision.
The new blood vessels can form scar tissue which can cause retina detachment or lead to problems in the macula.
As mentioned above Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy is a very serious issue and can steal both your peripheral(Side) and central vision
THE CONNECTION BETWEEN DIABETES MELLITUS AND DIABETIC RETINOPATHY:
1. The severity of Diabetic Retinopathy and the duration of Diabetes Mellitus walk hand in hand.
2. A regular checkup must be taken up every 6 to 12 months can help detect early changes and prevent blindness
Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy:
There are no symptoms in the early stage of Diabetic Retinopathy, however as the condition progresses you may face the following signs and symptoms:
- a) Dark Spots or Strings floating in your vision also known as floaters
- b) Blurry Vision
- c) Fluctuation in the Vision
- d) Impaired Color Vision
- e) Dark or Empty Areas in your Vision
- d) Vision Loss
In most of the cases, diabetic retinopathy affects both the eyes.
Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy :
There is various treatment available for Diabetic Retinopathy depending upon the stage of the disease.
1. MEDICINE CONTROL :
Taking proper care of health by exercising regularly and by following the proper diet is recommended. Controlling Blood Sugar and Blood Pressure can stop the process of loss of eye sight. It is also very important to follow the diabetes doctor’s instructions who is taking care of your diabetes and consuming prescribes medicines by the doctor is very important.
2. MEDICATION :
There is a medicine called Anti- VEGF which helps to reduce the swelling in the macula by slowing down the vision and gradually improving it.
3. LASER TREATMENT :
Lasers are used to seal the leaking blood vessels, which helps in reducing the swelling of the retina. It is also used to shrink the blood vessels and stop them from growing again.
4. VITRECTOMY :
This Surgery is suggested by an ophthalmologist only when one faces Advance Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy. During the surgery, Ophthalmologist vitreous gel and blood from leaking vessels in the back of your eye which allows light rays to focus properly on the retina again. Scar tissues might also be removed from the retina during this surgery for better vision.
5. ANTI-VEGF INJECTIONS :
One type of medication is called “anti-VEGF” medication. This helps to reduce swelling of the macula, slowing vision loss and perhaps improving vision. This drug is given by injections (shots) in the eye. Steroid medicine is another option to reduce macular swelling. This is also given as injections in the eye. Your doctor will recommend how many medication injections you will need over time.
Prevention of Diabetic Retinopathy
Since there is no cure for diabetes yet, close monitoring and management of the disease is the best way to prevent blindness. It is recommended that people with diabetes have an annual complete eye exam by an ophthalmologist to check the health of the eye and detect early signs of diabetic retinopathy.
The single most important thing a person with diabetes can do to prevent the complications of diabetes, including diabetic retinopathy, is to control blood sugar levels. Also important are avoiding the use of tobacco, controlling blood pressure and engaging in regular exercise.
If diabetic retinopathy goes unchecked, treatment becomes difficult, and the possibility of vision loss increases.
At Complete Eye Care we are diligently working with patients to help make blindness from diabetes a thing of the past.
If you want more information or an exam to check for signs of diabetic retinopathy, call or mail our Clinic at
, so we can be of service.