Diabetes has become a lifestyle disease and that is affecting a lot of patients to suffer systemically. Diabetes also affects the eye and whoever is diagnosed with diabetes should get their eyes tested immediately at the time of diagnosis and specifically so if they have been having diabetes for about 5 years or more. The chances are the risk of the eyes getting affected with diabetes increases with time or if the HbA1c is higher.
Diabetic retinopathy is one of the leading causes of blindness and it is an irreversible cause of blindness like Glaucoma. Glaucoma could be a part of diabetic retinopathy but diabetic retinopathy by itself can be blinding and that is the reason we would urge all patients having diabetes to get their eyes tested at the earliest.
The different types of how diabetes can affect the patient’s vision are that the patient could develop cataracts very early. They could develop eye pressure problems, the most important being the threat to vision because of retinopathy. So if there is retinopathy there could be background diabetic retinopathy where only a few blood clots within the retina that is not vision-threatening at all. The vision-threatening type of diabetic retinopathy could be proliferative diabetic retinopathy where there is bleeding within the eye because of which patients do not see.
If diagnosed early we can avoid these stages of bleeding and if the angiography is done on time. The laser work on the retina is done on time the most common reason for a vision drop in diabetic retinopathy is diabetic macular edema, so patients with diabetic macular edema could require a diagnosis at the earliest. They would require a specific test for an optical coherence tomography to diagnose edema.
Patients who are having background diabetic retinopathy can be diagnosed with an angiography test wherein a dye is injected within the arm and then we see the circulation of the blood within the eyes and if at an early stage if a blockage of the blood vessels is seen that could be treated with laser or if there is a leakage happening within the retina then that can be treated specific injections. In case there is bleeding and there is no view of the retina, sonography can be done to diagnose if the retina is attached or detached.
So in the earlier stages, the retina remains attached and if treatment is not done in time the retina could get detached and that could again lead to irreversible loss of vision. That is the reason the patient with diabetes should be screened regularly for changes within the eyes and if there are changes within the eyes they should take the treatment at the earliest.
So symptoms of retinopathy could be seen as black spots or dark flotters within the eye for a sudden loss of either centre or peripheral vision and if there is an attraction on the retina there could be a distortion of blurriness the patient could feel. If not treated in time this could lead to permanent blindness and permanent loss of vision. So along with the eyes, all other organs are also important like kidneys and if the kidneys are affected the risk of the eyes getting affected is very high. Even vice versa if we are seen the eyes and we see the retina is affected, the risk of kidney getting affected is also high.
So the kidneys could also be protected if we are diagnosing the patient in time. The treatment forms for diabetic retinopathy are basically doing an angiography and then doing a laser to the retina or it could be injections that are given to the retina. Injections could be of different types, it could be anit VEGF injection or steroid injections or steroid implants, depending on the patient’s condition and the stage of retinopathy and the stage of maculopathy the exact treatment could be customized and tailor-made according to the requirements of the patients. We tend to see that we give the least kind of treatment and get the best kind of results with the least intervention with the least discomfort to the patient. So get your eyes tested regularly for diabetic retinopathy to keep seen till the end.