Diabetic Retinopathy is a complication where there is damage caused to the retina due to diabetes. Considered as an ocular manifestation of diabetes (eye condition associated with diabetes); diabetic retinopathy affects individuals suffering from diabetes.
Diabetes affects the blood circulatory system in the eye. In a diabetic individual the blood vessels and capillaries become abnormally leaky allowing the contents of blood to enter the retina. When the blood leaks into the retina, it causes the retina to swell. This swelling occurs in the macula (part of retina responsible for color and vision) affecting its normal functions, causing blurred vision and blindness.
Non-Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR):
An early stage of diabetic retinopathy, the blood vessels in the retina become weak forming tiny bulges(micro-aneurysms) to protrude from the retinal wall. In the early stages, NPDR does not require treatment but patients should monitor blood sugar levels to prevent the condition from progressing.
Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR):
Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) is an advanced form of diabetic retinopathy; where the blood vessels in the retina close, and new fragile blood vessels are created to supply blood to the retina. This creation of new blood vessels is called as Neovascularization. The new formed blood vessels are abnormal in structure; they eventually result in a scar tissue being formed. The scar tissue further leads to retinal detachment.
Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy:
i) Seeing spots or floaters in your eye
ii) Blurred vision
iii) A dark or empty spot appearing in the center of your vision
iv)Difficulty in seeing at night
Better control of blood sugar levels in diabetic patients slows the progression of diabetic retinopathy.
Treatment of diabetic retinopathy:
i)People with diabetes should control their blood sugar levels and blood pressure.
ii)Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (PDR) is treated using a scatter laser treatment. In this treatment the blood vessels are shrunk by using lasers. Usually more than one session is required for treatment of Proliferative diabetic retinopathy.
iii) Focal photocoagulation. Focal photocoagulation is used to seal the small blood vessels near the macula. Done under local anesthesia, laser photocoagulation is not painful but an individual may feel a little stinging sensation.
Post Operative Treatment:
i)After the surgery, patient is allowed to leave the same day.
ii)Regular drops need to be applied for quick healing and to avoid infection.
iii)Wearing sunglasses is advised for a few weeks.
iv)Regular follow-ups with the doctor is also advised.
i)Laser photocoagulation sometimes burns and destroys a part of the retina resulting in permanent vision loss.
ii)Bleeding in the eye.
iii)Increase in blood sugar levels and blood pressure can again increase the progression of diabetic retinopathy.
Elite eye hospital, Mumbai is a modern and well-equipped hospital with a wide range of facilities.