Diabetic retinopathy is an eye condition that can threaten the vision of people with diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy is a consequence of uncontrolled diabetes and poses a substantial risk to eyesight, potentially leading to vision loss. The key battleground is the retina, where the delicate dance of blood vessels takes a dramatic turn.
The Importance of Regular Eye Exams
Regular eye examinations are essential as part of good diabetes management. An experienced medical professional will be able to detect the early signs of diabetic retinopathy and can treat it quickly before it becomes a more serious problem. Book in for comprehensive dilated eye exams at least once a year to manage the risk of the condition.
High blood sugar levels can damage the retina. Excess sugar can damage delicate blood vessels supplying the retina, impairing visual function.
Who Is at Risk?
Diabetic retinopathy can impact people with any kind of diabetes, including gestational diabetes. If you do not deal with any concerns about your vision quickly, the condition can escalate. Some studies show over 50% of people with diabetes will eventually experience diabetic retinopathy. However, good diabetes management can minimise this risk.
Treating Diabetic Retinopathy
Acting quickly is crucial in protecting the vision of a patient with diabetic retinopathy. The earlier it is caught, the better the prognosis. The main treatment options available include:
- Injections: In select cases, injected medications can slow the impact of diabetic retinopathy.
- Laser Treatment: specialist laser treatment can seal the leaking blood vessels and stop the progression of the condition.
- Surgical Interventions: patients who exhibit more extreme symptoms of diabetic retinopathy such as excessive bleeding or scarring within the eye may need surgical treatment. A vitrectomy is the best option in this instance.
The vitrectomy procedure takes place in hospital. You will need either a local or general anaesthetic, but most patients can go home the same day.
During a vitrectomy the surgeon will make openings in the eye and remove the majority of the eye’s vitreous, the gel-like fluid that fills the eye. The surgeon then injects a bubble or air, gas or silicone oil into the eye to hold the retina in place. They may also carry out laser or freeze treatment to reattach or repair any damage. The procedure is quick and improvements to the vision will come over time as you recover from the procedure.
Diabetic Retinopathy in London
Miss Anna Grabowska is a highly experienced vitreoretinal surgeon working in London. She carries out many vitrectomies and supports patients living with diabetic retinopathy in finding the right treatment. If you need treatment for diabetic retinopathy in London, then get in touch.