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Diabetic Retinopathy

What is Diabetic Retinopathy?

Diabetic retinopathy is an eye condition that can lead to vision loss and blindness. It affects people who have diabetes and specifically affects the blood vessels in the retina. People with diabetes should ensure their eyes are regularly checked and a comprehensive dilated eye exam is vital at least once a year.

Diabetic retinopathy does not always present with symptoms initially, so ensuring you have regular eye tests and checks will ensure it is caught quickly and you can protect your vision. Managing diabetes can also help to protect your vision and minimise sight loss.

What causes diabetic retinopathy?

Diabetic retinopathy is caused by high blood sugar due to diabetes. Too much sugar in your blood can damage your retina just like many other areas of your body. The damage to your eyes begin when sugar begins to block the blood vessels that go to your retina, causing them to leak fluid. Your retina will grow new blood vessels but they usually do not work as well as the original ones.

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Treatment options for diabetic retinopathy

The best treatment for diabetic retinopathy depends on the stage of the condition. In the earliest stages you will probably only need additional checks and monitoring, which can mean a dilated eye exam every few months.

As the condition progresses you need to ensure you get treatment as quickly as possible, especially if you have experienced changes to your vision. You must also try to manage other aspects of your diabetes, your blood pressure and cholesterol too.

Treatment options for later stage diabetic retinopathy include medication via injection, laser treatment and in some instances surgery. If your retina is bleeding a lot or you have a lot of scars in your eye, your may require a type of surgery called a vitrectomy.

Get in touch today to explore options for treatment and how we can help.

Am I at risk of diabetic retinopathy?

If you live with any kind of diabetes then you are at risk of diabetic retinopathy. It can affect people with type 1, type 2 or gestational diabetes. The risk factor increases the longer you have the condition and over time, over 50% of people with diabetes will develop the condition. However, it is possible to lower your risk with good control and management of your diabetes.

If you would like to find out more or to book an appointment, please get in touch.