Diabetic retinopathy (damage to the retina) is caused by complications of diabetes mellitus, which can eventually lead to blindness. It is an ocular manifestation of systemic disease which affects up to 80% of all patients who have diabetes for 10 years or more. If diagnosed and treated promptly, blindness is usually preventable.
How would I know whether I have diabetic retinopathy? There may not be any symptoms until disease is advanced.Hence it is important for diabetic patients to consult an ophthalmologist for a fundus checkup at least once a year.You are more likely to develop diabetic retinopathy if you have 1. High BP along with diabetes 2. Poorly controlled diabetes 3. Diabetes for a long duration 4. Associated kidney involvement 5. Onset of diabetes at an early age (Insulin dependent diabetes)
Does diabetes cause permanent loss of vision? Yes,once it involves retina it can lead to irreversible loss of vision.Hence it is necessary to detect changes in your eye at the earliest.If diagnosed early your vision loss can b prevented.
Which tests would be needed to ascertain the diagnosis? When diabetic retinopathy reaches a certain stage, it becomes necessary to see a retinal specialist and get a fundus fluorescein angiography (FFA) and OCT done. Fluorescein angiography is an established technique for examining the circulation of the human retina. In particular it enables the progression of diabetic retinopathy to be monitored and provides valuable information on the presence, or otherwise, of vascular lesions such as oedema (leakage) and ischaemia (occlusion of the capillaries). OCT provides the study of pathology and histology in vivo, without operation or biopsy.This tomographer is based on Fourier Domain and spectral Technology which gives superior scan compared to various tomographers which were based on real time technology.Our centre is equipped with both Digital Fluorescein.Angiography(FFA) by Topcon Fundus camera and 3 D Optical Coherence Tomography(OCT),Nidek,Japan.
What is the treatment for diabetic retinopathy ?
You may not need treatment for diabetic retinopathy unless it has affected the center (macula) of the retina. You do need to have your dilated fundus evaluatin and vision checked every year. Laser treatment (photocoagulation) is usually very effective at preventing vision loss if it is done before the retina has been severely damaged If vision has already been lost due to diabetic retinopathy, laser treatment only helps to preserve the existing vision and usually is not able to improve vision in the majority of cases. Sometimes in cases of advanced diabetic retinopathy, if the eye is filled with blood (vitreous hemorrhage) or there is tractional retinal detachment, vitreoretinal surgery is the only option. However, this surgery is difficult and expensive and we can only strive for partial improvement. However, if no treatment is done, the patient is likely to lose all sight slowly but surely and the disease at that stage becomes incurable. Also, controlling your blood sugar levels is always important. This is true even if you have been treated for diabetic retinopathy and your eyes are better. In fact, good blood sugar control is especially important in this case so that you can help keep your retinopathy from getting worse.
Facility for LASER(NIDEK green laser) for Diabetic retinopathy is available at our centre.