Diabetes mellitus is emerging as a major public health problem in India. It is a multisystem disorder which affects the heart, kidneys, peripheral nerves and the eyes. Involvement of the retina is called diabetic retinopathy, and can lead to blindness. In patients with more than twenty years of diabetes, nearly all patients with type I diabetes (insulin-dependent) and more than 60% of those with type II diabetes (non-insulin dependent) will have some degree of retinopathy. This also depends on how well the disease has been controlled.
Bapaye Hospital offers comprehensive facilities for the medical and surgical management of diabetic retinopathy.
What is diabetic retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy is an eye problem that can be caused by either type 1 or type 2 diabetes mellitus. Retinopathy occurs when diabetes damages the tiny blood vessels in the retina. The weakened blood vessels may leak fluid and blood.
Who are at risk for developing diabetic retinopathy?
Those with poorly controlled blood sugar levels are at a high risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. In addition, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, anemia, kidney disease and pregnancy can all place a patient at greater risk of suffering from diabetic eye disease.
How frequently should I get my eye examined?
If you have diabetes, you should get a yearly examination by your ophthalmologist. Once you develop diabetic retinopathy, your ophthalmologist may advise further investigations or treatment. A periodic follow up as advised by your ophthalmologist is mandatory. The frequency of these follow up visits is decided based on the severity of the disease.
What are the symptoms of diabetic retinopathy?
There may be no symptoms in the early stages, especially when the central portion of the retina is not involved. As the retinopathy progresses, you may have:
- Blurred vision
- Floaters, which can look like black spots, little threads, or cobwebs
- Bleeding in the eye causing sudden loss of vision
- Temporary or permanent loss of vision.