What is diabetic retinopathy? Symptoms and treatment of the disease
Diabetic retinopathy is a common complication of diabetes. For this reason, every diabetic should have regular eye examinations.
Diabetic retinopathy is one of the complications of untreated or incorrectly treated diabetes. In its course, the blood vessels in the retina of the eye are damaged, and thus vision deteriorates. As prophylaxis, every diabetic should attend regular ophthalmological examinations.
Twenty years after diagnosis, diabetic retinopathy is found in almost all patients with type 1 diabetes and in approximately 60% of people with type 2 diabetes. The period of sexual maturation, pregnancy, and cataract surgery have a particular influence on the disease progression. In addition to regular eye examinations, preventive measures include glucose control, adherence to the doctor’s recommendations for treating diabetes, leading a healthy lifestyle (proper diet, exercise, no addictions), and maintaining healthy body weight.
What is diabetic retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy is a disease caused by damage to blood vessels of the retina, due to the maintenance of elevated blood glucose. As a result, they rupture and bleed. A complication of diabetic retinopathy may be retinal detachment and loss of vision.
Diabetic retinopathy is classified into:
- non-proliferative retinopathy (the mildest form of the disease),
- pre-proliferative retinopathy,
- proliferative retinopathy (new blood vessels form and burst).
Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy
Very often there are no symptoms of diabetic retinopathy – there is no deterioration of eyesight, and the patient does not complain of pain. Lesions can only be detected in an ophthalmological examination, which is why it is so important to report to an ophthalmologist on a regular basis.
The first symptoms of diabetic retinopathy are seen as the disease progresses to a more advanced stage. Belong to them:
- decreased visual acuity,
- poor vision in the dark
- difficulty seeing in bright rooms,
- spots in the field of view.
Diabetic retinopathy can even lead to blindness, if untreated
Diagnostics of diabetic retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy can only be detected by eye examination. The basic diagnostic tool is the fundus examination after dilating the pupils with special drops. Thanks to it, it is possible to evaluate the structure and functioning of the retina, optic nerve, and uveal membrane. Additional tests include optical coherent computed tomography, fluorescein angiography, and ultrasound.
Treatment of diabetic retinopathy
Treatment of diabetic retinopathy depends on the type and severity of the disease. The most important thing is to normalize the level of glucose in the blood because thanks to it you can stop the progress of the disease. It is also necessary to control lipid levels and blood pressure.
Laser surgery is performed in people who have changed in the fundus. In diabetic retinopathy, laser therapy is based on the destruction of lesions and ischemic areas. This prevents the detachment of the retina that leads to blindness. This procedure is completely safe.
Vitrectomy is required in the case of very advanced diabetic retinopathy. It involves removing the vitreous to gain access to the damaged structures at the back of the eye. Very often, this operation is the only chance to save your eyesight.
Treatment of diabetic retinopathy involves a hospital stay and high costs – treatments and consultations can be performed under the multispeciality hospital in Coimbatore. Therefore, you should think about additional insurance, which is the package for diabetics. It is not only financial support but also helps in organizing the necessary specialist consultations.