Despite Good Vision & Good Control of Sugar
You could be having Retinopathy
Help Yourselves & Prevent Diabetic Blindness
This article has been written to help people with diabetic retinopathy and their families and friends better understand the disease. Diabetic retinopathy is a potentially blinding complication of diabetes that damages the eye’s retina.
All Diabetics – without exception – are at risk of developing retinopathy
At first, you may notice no changes in your vision. But don’t let diabetic retinopathy fool you. It could get worse over the years and threaten your good vision. With timely treatment, 90 percent of those with advanced diabetic retinopathy can be saved from going blind.
The Retina is the light sensitive layer like the film in a Camera. Diabetic retinopathy occurs when diabetes damages the tiny blood vessels in the retina. At this point, most people do not notice any changes in their vision.
Diabetic Retinopathy & its Symptoms
Some people develop a condition called macular edema. It occurs when the damaged blood vessels leak fluid and lipids onto the macula, the part of the retina that lets us see fine detail & read. The fluid makes the macula swell, blurring vision.
As the disease progresses, it enters its advanced, or proliferative, stage. Fragile, new blood vessels grow along the retina and in the clear, gel-like vitreous that fills the inside of the eye. Without timely treatment, these new blood vessels can bleed, cloud vision, and destroy the retina.
Examination and investigations
An Eye examination would involve – Vision test, Dilatation of Pupils and Ophthalmoscopy to examine the retina. Though every eye specialist is conversant with these routine examinations, at times a Retina Specialist is required to do more sophisticated examinations or decide on the management.
Should your doctor suspect that you have macular edema or proliferative retinopathy, he or she may ask you to have a test called fluorescein angiography. In this test, a special dye is injected into your arm. Pictures are then taken as the dye passes through the blood vessels in the retina. This test allows your doctor to find the leaking blood vessels.
LASER treatment is very effective in reducing vision loss from this disease. In fact, even people with advanced retinopathy have a 90 percent chance of keeping their vision when they get treatment before the retina is severely damaged. It may require multiple sittings.
A Vitrectomy Operation is performed if you have a lot of blood in the vitreous. It involves removing the cloudy vitreous and replacing it with a salt solution.
It is important to note that although these treatments are very successful in reducing further visual loss, they do not cure or reverse diabetic retinopathy. In few cases retinopathy may progress despite LASER & our best efforts.
Check ups – Good Vision and good control of blood sugar does not mean No Retinopathy
* Every Diabetic must have his / her eyes examined at least once a year.
* Those with poor control of sugar, Proteinuria, Macular edema & Proliferative Retinopathy require more frequent examination.
* Juvenile diabetics & Diabetics becoming Pregnant must have more frequent check ups.