Diabetic retinopathy is a diabetes complication that affects the blood vessels in the eyes. It inflicts damage to the blood vessels in the light-sensitive tissues at the back of the retina. While it only causes mild symptoms at the start, it can eventually lead to vision problems and blindness.
The condition can affect anyone who has a long history of high sugar levels or type 1 or 2 diabetes. High blood sugar often leads to blockage in the blood vessels and cuts off blood supply to the retina. So the longer the patient has diabetes, the more likely they are to develop diabetic retinopathy. Therefore, early prevention is essential to slow and stop the progression of the condition.
Our doctor performs a dilated eye exam to diagnose diabetic retinopathy. They will use eye drops to make the pupils wide. It allows them to examine the inside of the eyes for the signs of swelling, scarring or leaking of the blood vessels.
They may also perform a fluorescein angiography test to assess nerve damage and blockage. The doctor may also recommend a blood test to check the sugar levels in the patient’s blood. It will help determine the type, severity, and most effective treatment for diabetic retinopathy.
In case of mild symptoms, our doctor will prescribe medications to control the blood sugar and to stop the progression. However, if the patient has macular oedema or severe symptoms, they will recommend surgery.
In laser surgery, the doctor administers laser burns in the eye, which stops the leakage and shrinks the abnormal blood vessels. In a vitrectomy, the surgeon makes a tiny incision to remove blood from the eye’s middle. They will also remove any scar tissue that’s tugging on the retina.
However, surgery only slows or stops the progression of symptoms for a while. Like diabetes, diabetic retinopathy requires constant management to prevent further complications.