In India, type II diabetes is turning out to be one of the most challenging public health problems. This multi system disorder leads to the impairment of the health of the heart, kidneys, eyes, and peripheral nerves of people suffering from the condition. When the retina of the eye of a person with type II diabetes gets affected, the condition is referred to as diabetic retinopathy. It is one of the leading causes of blindness in diabetics.
Retinopathy affects to some degree patients who have been diabetics for over twenty years, nearly all diagnosed as having insulin-dependent or type I diabetes, and more than 60 percent of those with non-insulin dependent or type II diabetes. However, it depends to a great extent on how well they have been managing their blood sugar levels. Read on to know more about the condition and diabetic retinopathy treatment.
Diabetic Retinopathy – What Is It
Retinopathy is a serious eye problem caused by diabetes. It occurs when the condition causes damages to the tiny blood vessels lining the light-sensitive tissue of the eye at the back called retina. When the blood vessels become weak, fluid and blood start leaking from them. Diabetics that do not manage their blood sugar levels properly are at risk of developing this condition. Hypertension, high cholesterol levels, anaemia, pregnancy, and kidney disease are known to be at a greater risk of developing retinopathy.
Diabetic Retinopathy – Symptoms
In the early stages of development, there may not be any symptoms, especially if the central part of the retina is not affected. As the condition progresses, patients may experience:
- Blurring of vision
- Floaters that appear as black spots, cobwebs, or little threads
- Eye bleeding that causes a sudden vision loss
- Temporary or permanent vision loss
- Patients with diabetic retinopathy do not commonly experience pain.
Diabetic Retinopathy – Types
There are two types of diabetic retinopathy. These are the non-proliferative and proliferative diabetic retinopathy. While the former refers to the preliminary stages of the condition, the latter refers to the progressive stage.
Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment
The treatment for diabetic retinopathy is decided on the basis of the severity of the condition. It may either be geared towards either slowing down or stopping the condition’s progress. If the patient has mild to moderate non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy, he/she may not be required to undergo any treatment immediately. In this situation, the ophthalmologist might recommend good blood sugar level control to slow down the progress of the condition. A patient diagnosed with proliferative diabetic retinopathy (or macular oedema) will require surgical treatment. Based on the condition of the retina, the ophthalmologist might consider the following treatment options:
This treatment also referred to as focal laser method, stops or slows down the leakage of fluid and blood in the eye. The leaks from the blood vessels are sealed with laser burns. Typically, this treatment is carried out in the hospital in one session. Patients with blurred vision caused by macular oedema prior to surgery might not get normal vision after the procedure, but it reduces the chances of worsening of the macular oedema.
This method is referred to as scatter laser treatment. It helps to shrink the size of the abnormal blood vessels. The procedure involves treating the retinal areas, far away from the macula, using laser burns which results in the shrinking of the swollen blood vessels. Two or more sittings may be required in the case of this treatment. Vision may remain blurry for a day following the procedure. Patients may experience some reduction in peripheral vision and/or night vision.VitrectomyVitrectomy involves the creation of a small incision in your eye for removing blood from the vitreous and the scar tissue on the retina. This is done in a hospital under local/general anaesthesia.
Surgery helps to slow down or stop the progress of diabetic retinopathy. However, it is not a cure for the condition. Regular eye exams are required after diabetic retinopathy treatment and additional treatments may be recommended at later stages as well.In India, the best hospital for diabetic retinopathy treatment is Dr. Parbatani’s Eye Hospital in Pune. The QCI accredited LASIK Laser Centre at the hospital has carried out more than 50,000 eye surgeries successfully for patients of all age groups. The ophthalmologists and surgeons working at the state-of-the-art hospital, equipped with facilities for diagnosing and treating eye conditions such as Cataract, Glaucoma, and Diabetic Retinopathy, among others, are all highly experienced professionals in their respective areas of specialization.