Diabetic Retinopathy | Treatment & Causes | ASG Eye Hospitals

Want to know about Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment?

Want to know about Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment?

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Diabetic retinopathy, the leading cause of blindness worldwide, occurs as a change in blood vessels of the retina as a result of diabetes. The retinal damage and impairment of vision lead to Diabetic retinopathy treatment. It is a condition that is caused by damage to the blood vessels of the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye (retina). It is mainly a diabetic complication and affects in two stages:
  • The early stage of the disease in which blood vessels swell and leak is called nonproliferative retinopathy. The macular edema or the swelling of the retina may result in mild vision loss.
  • The advanced stage in which abnormal new blood vessels grow on the surface of the retina is termed proliferative retinopathy. This may result in severe vision loss as these blood vessels may break and bleed into the vitreous (the clear watery gel that fills the eye).
While there are not many known ways to prevent diabetic retinopathy, you can reduce the risk of having it develop or progress. Maintaining the blood sugar levels slows the onset of retinopathy and may prevent it from getting worse. It also decreases the need for Laser Retinopathy treatment or other procedures in the severe stages.

What are the causes of Diabetic Retinopathy?

The leading cause of Diabetic Retinopathy is high levels of sugar in the blood that result in blockage of the tiny blood vessels which nourish the retina. Consequently, the eye attempts to grow new blood vessels but these don’t work properly and easily leak. The new blood vessels behave abnormally and eventually cause Diabetic Retinopathy.

Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy

You may not have any symptoms in the early stages of diabetic retinopathy and the vision may not change until the disease gets worse. But as the disease progresses you may observe:

Diabetic Retinopathy Symptoms

  • Floaters, spots, or strings in the visual field which move in the direction you look
  • Blurry vision
  • Fluctuating vision
  • Poor color vision & contrast
  • Difficulty in seeing at night
  • Blind spots in the field of vision
  • A strange dark or empty spot in the center of the vision
  • A sudden or total loss of vision
A person who is suffering from diabetes is at a higher risk of developing this disease. The risk increases with age and with other factors like smoking, high blood pressure, and pregnancy.

Are There Any Complications if Diabetic Retinopathy is Left Untreated?

Without proper treatment, this disease can lead to various complications.
A condition called vitreous hemorrhage might occur when the blood vessels bleed into the main jelly that fills the eye (vitreous). As the blood in the vitreous blocks light from entering the eye, it can result in vision loss. Although in mild cases the symptoms include floaters in the visual field.
If there’s no damage to the retina, bleeding in the vitreous may resolve itself.
In some cases, a severe complication called detached retina might occur. It is caused when the scar tissue pulls the retina from the back of the eye. The person may experience floating spots in the field of vision, flashes of light, and severe vision loss. If not treated, it may lead to total vision loss.

How is Diabetic Retinopathy Diagnosed?

An ophthalmologist can easily detect the signs of this disease. It is recommended that people who suffer from diabetes must have an eye examination at least once a year to prevent themselves from Diabetic Retinopathy Surgery. The ways of diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy are multiple:

Diabetic Retinopathy Diagnosis

Dilated Eye Exam

For the dilated eye exam, an eye doctor puts drops into the person’s eyes. This helps to dilate the pupils and allows the doctor to see the inside of the eye.
They then take photographs of the eye’s interior and look for the presence of:
  • Cataracts
  • Retinal detachment
  • Changes in the eye pressure
  • Abnormalities in the blood vessels or the retina
  • Scar tissue
You may feel minor discomfort due to the eye drops and the bright lights of the photographs.

Visual Acuity Test

It is an eye chart test that measures central vision ability at different distances.

Fluorescein Angiography

This test is conducted initially by dilating the pupils and then by injecting a dye called fluorescein into the vein of the person’s arm.
Further, pictures are taken as the dye circulates the eyes. To determine which blood vessels are leaking fluid or are blocked or broken down the doctor examines the flow of the dye. The dye, fluorescein, may leak through the retina or stain the blood vessels if these vessels are behaving abnormally.
This helps the doctor to go on with the proper course of treatment.
People may notice that they have yellowish skin or dark orange urine due to the existence of dye in the body.

Tonometry

This test is conducted to check the pressure (intraocular pressure, or IOP) inside the eye.

Optical Coherence Tomography

This test allows the doctors to look for cysts or swelling of the retina. OCT is a non-invasive imaging scan that helps provide high-resolution cross-sectional images of the retina to reveal its thickness.
It also aids in checking the effectiveness of the treatment as doctors perform it before and after treatment.
Though it is similar to ultrasound testing, it uses light rather than sound to produce images. It also helps to provide information about the optic nerve.

Ophthalmoscopy

In this test, the ophthalmologist will look closely at your eye and examine it with the help of a special magnifying glass.

How is Diabetic Retinopathy Treated?

The treatment of this disease depends on several factors that include the severity of the condition and how it has responded to previous treatments.
In the early stages, the doctor will follow watchful waiting in which the person’s eye is monitored closely without intervening.

Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment

Maintaining blood sugar levels and controlling diabetes is very crucial and it can significantly slow down the development of this disease.
But in advanced stages, the person usually requires Diabetic Retinopathy treatment:
There are three ways to treat the disease:

Laser Treatment

Laser for Diabetic Retinopathy is used in a targeted manner to shrink blood vessels in the eye and seal the leaks from abnormal blood vessels. It is also known as scatter laser surgery and is generally used to treat proliferative retinopathy or macular edema.
The treatment may slow down or stop the leakage of blood and the build-up of fluid in the eye.
It is conducted by placing a medicine that numbs the eye and then aiming a strong beam of light (laser) into the eye using a special lens.
The person may feel uncomfortable due to the bright light and may experience blurry vision for the rest of the day. Small spots may also appear in the visual field for a few weeks after the laser treatment.  More than one session may be required for the patient.
This procedure involves certain risks, such as loss of peripheral vision, color vision, and night vision. The person should consult their doctor about the benefits and risks of this treatment.

Laser Treatment

Injections

Certain medicines can be injected into the eye to reduce swelling and minimize leakage from the blood vessels in the eyes.
To perform this treatment the doctor follows certain steps. The eye specialist will place medicine that numbs the eye, then he may clean the eye to help prevent infections and eventually inject the medicine into the eye. The medicine may slow down the growth of the abnormal vessels of the retina and may also treat macular edema.
Depending upon the severity of the condition people may need regular injections but with time they require injections less frequently.

Vitrectomy or Diabetic Retinopathy Surgery

A vitrectomy may benefit the person who has problems with the retina or vitreous. The procedure is conducted for the removal of some of the vitreous from the eye.
The eye surgeon may perform this procedure under general or monitored anesthesia.
It helps the surgeon to find and repair any sources of retinal bleeding by replacing cloudy vitreous or blood to improve vision.
The cloudy or bloody vitreous is replaced by a liquid or gas that is inserted by the surgeon into the eye. Subsequently, the body will absorb the liquid or gas with time and create new vitreous in its place.
The person may need to wear an eye patch for a day or so and use eye drops to reduce swelling and prevent the eyes from infections.
A person should be aware of the fact that Diabetic Retinopathy Surgery is not a cure, but it may slow down or stop the progression of symptoms. Diabetes is a chronic condition, and subsequent retinal damage and vision loss may occur in spite of treatment.

Prevention from Diabetic Retinopathy

The ways to prevent yourself from this harmful disease are not many, but the successful management of blood sugar levels may be very helpful.
Moreover, the early detection of symptoms makes the treatment more effective and optimal.
The blood sugar levels can be maintained in many ways such as eating a healthy and balanced diet, exercising regularly, keeping a moderate body weight, and scheduling regular health check-ups.
These conditions might worsen the normal functioning of the eye and may result in severe consequences. But, don’t worry if you have such conditions. At ASG Eye Hospitals, we take pride in providing the best solutions for eye care to people irrespective of their awareness, knowledge, and financial levels. The most optimal Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment at ASG encompasses state-of-the-art equipment and highly experienced doctors.

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