Q. What are the signs of Diabetic Retinopathy?
Diabetic Retinopathy is symptomless in its early stage; screening is the only way to identify these patients to prevent them from going blind. Timely treatment can prevent vision loss from diabetic retinopathy. This means that all of the diabetics have to be regularly examined for diabetic retinopathy.
Q. How is Diabetic Retinopathy detected?
Optometrist or ophthalmologist performs comprehensive test to evaluate your eyes,
Visual Acuity (sharpness of vision) – This eye chart test measures to see how well we see small and large objects at various distances.
Ophthalmoscopy – examination of the eye with a fundoscope after pupil dilation. The optometrist or ophthalmologist put some medicine (mydriatic eye drops) in the eye to widen the pupil which is the central hole in the iris so that he can look for signs of diabetic retinopathy more clearly.
He looks for,
- Changes in shape, thickness, and distribution of blood vessels in the eye;
- Presence of any leaking blood vessels;
- Swelling of the retina in general and of the macula (a special portion for sharp vision) in particular (macular oedema);
- Exudates – pale, fatty deposits on the retina – sign of leaking blood vessels;
Tonometry – A test that determines the fluid pressure in the eye to look for glaucoma
Q. Treatment options available for Diabetic Retinopathy?
The best solution is to avoid retinopathy by proper diabetes control. Depending on the severity, grade and nature of the problem there are two treatments for diabetic retinopathy. They are both very effective in reducing vision loss.
- Laser Surgery – Ophthalmologist performs laser surgery to burn off bleeding new blood vessels around the macula to save vision.
- Vitrectomy – Vitreoretinal surgery is done to restore lost vision caused by a vitreous bleed or opacity.
Q. Can the damage due to Diabetic Retinopathy is reversed?
The damage was done due to diabetic retinopathy, unfortunately, cannot be reversed. We can only try to retain the existing vision rather than regain the vision which has been lost.
Q. Can Diabetic Retinopathy be prevented?
Diabetic retinopathy can be prevented to some extent by taking care of the risk factors. Though diabetic retinopathy cannot be prevented, blindness due to diabetic retinopathy can be avoided by frequent eye examinations for evidence of diabetic retinopathy. As soon as the patient is diagnosed to have diabetes an eye examination should be done annually. But if the diabetic retinopathy is detected the frequency should be increased to every 3-6 months.
Have any questions? Get in touch. Ask Us..