DIABETIC EYE DISEASE

This is a disorder of the retina (a light-sensitive layer in the eye that enables you to see). The retina does this by converting light into electrical signals, which are then sent to the brain. Damage to the retinal blood vessels can cause blurry vision or even blindness.

CAUSES

When the blood sugar levels are high, the cells that line the retinal blood vessels tend to swell and become damaged. As a result, the blood vessel may bleed causing significant vision loss. As the blood vessels become increasingly damaged, they can become completely obstructed, depleting the retina of blood and nutrients and leading to its death.

SYMPTOMS

Diabetic retinopathy often has no early warning signs therefore, do not wait for symptoms, but instead undergo a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year.

As the disease progresses, you may experience some of these symptoms:

1. Poor reading vision

2. Blurred and fluctuating vision (often linked to blood sugar levels)

3. Floaters and flashes

4. Sudden loss of vision

PREVENTION

1. Good control of blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure levels.

2. Regular eye checks, including a retinal examination (this is the most important preventive measure for diabetic retinopathy)

3. Not smoking.

TREATMENT

1. Pan Retinal Photocoagulation (PRP)

Diabetic retinopathy does not usually impair sight until the development of long-term complications, including proliferative retinopathy, a condition in which abnormal new blood vessels may rupture and bleed inside the eye. When this advanced stage of retinopathy occurs, pan-retinal photocoagulation is usually recommended.It is most often used to stabilize vision and prevent future vision loss rather than to reverse vision loss.

Pan Retinal Photocoagulation stops vessels on the retina from leaking During this procedure, a special laser is used to make tiny burns that seal the retina and stop vessels from growing and leaking. Hundreds of tiny spots of laser are placed in the retina to reduce the risk of vitreous hemorrhage and retinal detachment. The laser is used to destroy all of the dead areas of the retina where blood vessels have been occluded. When these areas are treated with the laser, the retina stops manufacturing new blood vessels, and those that are already present tend to decrease or disappear.

BENEFITS OF TREATMENT

1. Preserve vision

2. Reduce the risk of vision loss

3. Stop the formation of new blood vessels

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

1. Is the laser treatment painful? Laser treatment generally is not painful but may cause some temporary discomfort.

2. Who is at risk of diabetic retinopathy? All people with diabetes are at risk of thiscondition. That’s why one should get a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year.