Diabetic Retinopathy is a disease of the retina caused by damage to the blood vessels supplying oxygen to it as a result of diabetic mellitus.
WHAT CAUSES DIABETIC RETINOPATHY?
Unnaturally high sugar (glucose) remains in your blood due to diabetes and damages your blood vessels including those supplying to the retina. In the early stages (background), there is bulging of the blood vessels (called microaneurysms) and leaking of blood (called hemorrhage) and fluid (exudates) from the damaged blood vessels. In the advanced stages proliferative), there is development of abnormal new blood vessels due to lack of oxygen supply to the retina.
FOLLOWING ARE THE RISK FACTORS :
- Longer duration of diabetes
- Uncontrolled high blood sugars
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF DIABETIC RETINOPATHY?
- Blurry vision
- Fluctuation in vision
- Spots or strings floating in your field of vision
- Shadows in your vision
- Vision Loss
TREATMENT OF DIABETIC RETINOPATHY
In the early stages, one may only require regular monitoring by one eye doctor along with strict control of blood sugars.
In the advanced stages,
- Focal laser treatment/Photocoagulation to slow down or stop the leakage of fluid or blood into the eye
- Scatter Laser Treatment / Pan-retinal Photocoagulation to shrink and scar the abnormal blood vessels
- Vitrectomy is used to remove blood from the vitreous as well as scar tissues in your eye
Injections are a new modality of treatment for eyes that develop damage to the macula (central retina). This is a simple and very effective treatment. Injections of steroids of anti VEGFs (Vascular enchotelial growth factors) may need to be given. Simple dose or sometimes in pulses over 3 months.