Diabetic retinopathy is the term used to describe the problem with the retina in diabetic patients, especially those with long standing diabetes. The retina is the light sensitive layer at the back of the eye which is responsible for vision. We commonly see this in people who have had diabetes for a period of 10 years or longer. Unfortunately, many people have not checked for diabetes all their life, and have discovered that they have suddenly lost vision!
The good news is – there is a cure for diabetic retinopathy. If discovered by your eye doctor early on in the disease, it requires a very simple laser treatment. At a later stage when vision starts to get blurred, injections may be required to restore vision. In the last stage of this disease, retinal detachment and vitreous hemorrhage occurs and vitrectomy surgery is required.
Diabetic retinopathy has become a very common problem in today’s world. Even as diabetes is on the rise, diabetic retinopathy is also increasing. In fact, this has become one of the leading causes of blindness today. Most people are unaware that this is totally preventable, if treated on time.
We have commonly seen patients with associated kidney disease having the worst forms of retinopathy. We highly recommend that all patients with chronic renal failure due to diabetes and hypertension get a regular assessment of the retina, every 6 months. Likewise, patients with diabetic retinopathy require renal screening every year to rule out diabetic nephropathy.
Advances in retina surgery have greatly increased the success rate of vitrectomy surgery in diabetics. The procedure involves minimally invasive methods to remove the vitreous and settle the retina with injection of silicone oil. No stitches are applied and the patient recovers within 24 hours. The procedure takes about an hour and is done under local anesthesia. We have seen that patients operated early do very well in the long run.
Dr. Anina Abraham
Advanced Retina Care, Hyderabad, India
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