Every year World Diabetes Day is observed on November 14 to create awareness about the disease. Diabetes is a chronic, autoimmune disease that can affect your entire body and damage your heart, nerves, kidneys, and your eyes. One of the conditions that is caused by high blood sugar from diabetes is diabetic retinopathy, a serious sight-threatening eye disease. The blood vessels in the retina are specifically affected by this disorder. Diabetic retinopathy's early stages could be symptomless.
People may experience visual alterations, such as difficulties reading or seeing distant objects, even though only modest eyesight issues are noticeable. Edema in the macula and haemorrhage from retinal blood vessels diminish vision as the condition worsens, and later stages result in scarring of the retina, retinal detachment, and permanent visual loss. In this article, Dr. Priyanka Singh (MBBS, MS, DNB, FAICO), Consultant & Eye Surgeon at Neytra Eye Centre, New Delhi explains all about diabetic retinopathy and whether it can be reversed.(click here to read all about diabetic retinopathy)
If your blood sugar level fluctuates excessively or is too high, you may develop diabetic retinopathy. Other manifestations of diabetic retinopathy include:
- Neovascular glaucoma: Unusual blood vessels caused by diabetic retinopathy that protrude from the retina and may obstruct fluid outflow from the eye. A specific type of glaucoma, a group of diseases that can cause blindness and vision loss, results from this.
- Diabetic macular edema (DME): Visual haze is a symptom of diabetic macular edema (DME). When blood vessels in the retina's macula, which is crucial for clear vision, leak fluid, diabetic macular edema develops.
- Retinal detachment: Diabetic retinopathy may cause scarring in the back of the eye. Scars can cause the retina to pull away from the retinal layer in the rear of the eye, a condition known as traction retinal detachment.
A dilated eye exam can be performed to identify retinopathy. It is a brief and painless procedure; your doctor will use eye drops to widen your pupil as part of a screening for diabetic retinopathy as well as other eye conditions. If you have diabetes, you should get regular eye exams. If you have diabetic retinopathy, treatment should be started very soon to halt the damage and save your sight.
Diabetic retinopathy symptoms include: fluctuating or blurred vision, loss of vision, and the presence of empty or dark spots or dark strings floating in your field of vision.
Can Dabetic Retinopathy Be Treated?
Diabetic retinopathy cannot be cured, but there are treatments that can assist in minimising, postponing, or in some cases, helping reverse some visual loss.
Treatment is completely based on eye examination. If you develop proliferative diabetic retinopathy or macular edema, you should seek medical assistance immediately. The injection of vascular endothelial growth factor inhibitors into the vitreous of your eyes is a possible treatment option for progressive diabetic retinopathy. This drug lessens fluid retention and prevents the growth of new blood vessels. Photocoagulation, panretinal photocoagulation, and vitrectomy are further therapy possibilities.
How to prevent this?
Taking care of your diabetes is the only way to lower your chance of developing diabetic retinopathy.
- By eating a balanced diet and exercising frequently to burn excess body fat, you can control your blood pressure and cholesterol.
- Keep a watch out for any changes in your vision, such as cloudy, blurry, or spotty vision, and call your doctor immediately if you see any.
- The glycosylated haemoglobin test, also known as haemoglobin A1C, is performed to assess your average blood sugar levels during the previous 2 to 3 months. You can keep an eye on your sugar levels in this way.
- The final and most crucial step in preventing diabetic retinopathy is to permanently give up smoking because this habit greatly raises the risks related to diabetes.
- For those with diabetes, it is advisable to take insulin or oral diabetic medications as directed by your doctor. And check your blood sugar levels frequently, especially if you're stressed.
The only ways to stop diabetes-related eye damage include timely eye exams, early detection of vision issues, adequate medical care, and regular follow-up with the ophthalmologist. There are many treatment options for diabetic retinopathy treatments that are effective, but they perform best when the condition is identified early.
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