What is Diabetic Retinopathy?

Diabetes is a condition in which blood sugar levels are abnormally elevated. Over time, this can lead to damage to a number of organs in the body, including the eye.

In the eye, diabetes particularly affects the blood vessels in the retina, at the back of the eye, producing what we call diabetic retinopathy. The two biggest risk factors for diabetic retinopathy are the number of years that you have had diabetes, and how well the blood sugar levels have been controlled during this time.

How can Diabetic Retinopathy affect vision?

Diabetes can make the blood vessels in the eye leaky. This tends to occur in the macula, the part of retina that provides our central vision, and which we use for activities such as reading and watching TV. Leaky blood vessels can lead to accumulation of fluid in the macula, and a reduction in central vision. Diabetes can also lead to bleeding in the eye, a serious complication that can lead to loss of vision, or severely elevated pressure in the eye.

How is Diabetic Retinopathy treated?

Several different treatment options are available, depending on the particular problem that is present. Laser and intraocular injections are two procedures commonly used to treat diabetic retinopathy. Dr Raj also has access to the newer ‘micropulse’ laser, a more gentle type of laser, which is safer for the macula. Dr Raj will take the time to discuss these options with you, and assist in deciding which option is best for your individual circumstances.

Can Diabetic Retinopathy be prevented?

The risk of developing diabetic retinopathy can be reduced through good control of blood sugar levels and other cardiovascular risk factors such as blood pressure and cholesterol. Dr Raj will work with your GP or endocrinologist to support you in achieving these goals.