Diabetic Retinopathy: What to Expect?

Tue Sep 7 2021

Diabetic retinopathy is an eye condition that affects blood vessels in the eyes (particularly the retina) and causes blindness in diabetic people. If you have diabetes, then it is recommended that you schedule a comprehensive eye exam annually. Timely examinations ensure early diagnosis and prevent loss of vision.

Diabetic Retinopathy Symptoms

Even though there aren’t any early symptoms for this condition, diabetic retinopathy may show the following symptoms at later stages:

  • A dark spot in the centre of vision

  • Blurred or impaired vision

  • Bending of lines or words or difficulty in reading

  • Floating transparent spots in vision

  • Sudden onset patches or streaks that block the vision

  • Poor night vision

  • Redness or pain in the eyes

  • Sudden loss of vision (partial or complete)

Stages of Diabetic Retinopathy

The main stages of diabetic retinopathy are mentioned below:

  • Background retinopathy

This is the first stage in which microaneurysms (tiny bulges) appear in the blood vessels in the retina, which lead to small amounts of bleeding. Since this is an initial stage, no major surgery or procedures are needed. The condition can be kept in check through timely consultations and a healthy lifestyle.

  • Non-proliferative retinopathy

In this stage, the bleeding into the retina or blockage of blood vessels increases, which means that the chances of your vision being affected becomes significantly higher. Patients are advised to have more frequent screenings (every three to six months) to monitor the situation more closely as it can advance to later stages rapidly.

  • Proliferative retinopathy 

This stage is reached when additional scar tissues because of new blood vessels formed on the surface of the retina due to blockage of the old blood vessels. The new blood vessels are weak and can lead to significant bleeding or retinal detachment. 

  • Diabetic maculopathy

In any of the above stages, if the blood vessels in the centre of the retina are blocked, and this is called diabetic maculopathy. Vision loss is highly anticipated, and more specialised testing is done to monitor the condition. Intra vitreal injection or Surgery can be considered to prevent it from getting worse. 

Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment 

Diabetic Retinopathy treatment varies depending on which stage the condition is. If it is diagnosed early, you can reduce its chances of progressing by making changes to your diet, lifestyle and medications. 

Since diabetic retinopathy can lead to partial or complete blindness, keeping the condition in check is essential. If the condition advances to later stages, the following treatments might be suggested by doctors:

  • Laser treatment

The growth of new blood vessels at the back of the eye can be treated through laser treatment if it’s a case of proliferative diabetic retinopathy or maculopathy. While it can prevent further degradation, the vision can’t be restored to normal. 

  • Eye injections

The patient may be given eye injections (medications like anti-VEGF are injected into the retina) in case of severe maculopathy. 

  • Eye surgery

Yet another diabetic retinopathy treatment is surgery. The surgery aims at removing the fluid or treating scar tissues if the condition has advanced to later stages.

Why Centre for Sight?

Conditions like diabetic retinopathy can affect your vision and hence need expert supervision and care. Centre for Sight can provide you with great facilities and ophthalmologists who are adept at controlling such conditions to prevent further vision loss. You can visit our nearest centre for diabetic retinopathy treatment and other eye-related conditions. 

Article: Femto LASIK: Procedure, Complications & Recovery
Author: CFS Editorial Team  |  Sept 07 2021 | UPDATED 04:00 IST

*The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his privatecapacity and do not in any way represent the views of Centre for Sight.

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