Diabetic retinopathy is an eye condition that can have major consequences for the person suffering from it. It’s relatively common amongst people with diabetes and it impairs your vision and can even leave you blind in some cases.
In this post, you’ll learn more about diabetic retinopathy treatment, as well as get some general information on the condition.
What is diabetic retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy is a common side-effect of diabetes that can cause vision impairment. This can even result in blindness in severe cases and it’s a difficult condition to treat. It’s caused by damage to the blood vessels in the retina which is the area at the back of the eye responsible for receiving light.
Some symptoms of diabetic retinopathy are eye floaters, fluctuating vision or blind spots in your eyesight. This usually affects both eyes and worsens over time.
If you are experiencing any problems with your eyesight, go and see a doctor and have it checked out. Impaired vision is not something to be taken lightly and can have major implications for your quality of life.
Diagnosing diabetic retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy is diagnosed by an eye doctor in the hospital and usually not by an optician like many people may expect. This is because diabetic retinopathy is a medical condition and not blurred vision due to normal causes that may lead to you needing glasses.
During the eye exam given by your doctor, you will be asked to perform multiple tests in order to properly diagnose diabetic retinopathy. These tests look for retinal detachment, bleeding, scar tissue and other abnormalities in your eye.
Your treatment will depend on how recent the symptoms have started and how far along the condition is. The type of diabetic retinopathy you have is another important factor in deciding the best treatment for your situation.
Why is diabetic retinopathy treatment so important?
Dr Claudine Pang, a respected ophthalmologist based in Asia Retina Eye Surgery Centre, says that getting the right diabetic retinopathy treatment is extremely important due to the fact that the condition worsens over time. Starting on the proper treatment in time can save your eyesight as the treatment slows or even completely stops the condition from worsening.
If the condition is still in very early stages, you may not need treatment straight away. That being said, it’s important that you and your doctor keep a close eye on the condition to prevent major implications further down the line. This also ensures treatment is started as soon as this is needed.
What are some of the best diabetic retinopathy treatment methods?
Finding the best treatment for your diabetic retinopathy is best left to your doctor or other medical professionals. Below we’ve listed some of the options that are available, one of which may be the best diabetic retinopathy treatment for your situation.
Also known as focal laser treatment, photocoagulation slows the leakage in your eye, and in some cases, stops it entirely. This is usually done in an eye clinic and is often completed in a single day. This prevents you from having to go back for multiple sessions.
Recovery may take longer though, and it’s often advised to take some time off often the procedure.
Focal laser treatment is done by simply closing any leaks by burning them shut using a laser. This may sound extreme, but it is a normal procedure and the risks aren’t huge.
Also called scatter laser treatment, pan-retinal photocoagulation burns the abnormal blood vessels in your eyes which cause them to shrink and scar. This reduces the speed at which this condition worsens.
As with the previous treatment, it is usually done by your eye doctor and may cause temporary worsening until the area has healed. It’s advised to take some time off after the treatment in order to fully recover.
Unlike the previous treatment, it takes multiple sessions to take full effect.
Vitrectomy is a surgical procedure where a small slit is made in your eye and blood is removed from the centre of the eyeball. Potentially, scar tissue that is causing problems can be removed too.
This process is done in the hospital and is completed in one treatment.
Vascular endothelial growth factor inhibitors
These are a type of medication that can be injected into your eye in order to slow down the progression of diabetic retinopathy. They work by stopping the growth of new blood vessels in the eye by inhibiting the natural signals the body sends to the brain in order to generate new blood vessels.
This treatment can consist of a one-off injection or injections paired with one of the other treatments mentioned above. It is still in a very experimental phase and this treatment isn’t used often.
All of these treatments work to slow the condition down or to stop it from worsening. As is often the case with eye conditions, the damage is often already done and there is not much you can do to reverse the effects.
This is one of the reasons why it’s important to diagnose and treat this condition as soon as possible. The sooner treatment is started, the quicker the condition can be slowed down.
Diabetic retinopathy isn’t a condition to be taken lightly. Even though there are a lot of treatment options, these treatments only slow the progress of the condition or stop it from worsening. This is why it’s important to regulate your blood sugar levels if you are a diabetes-suffer, and to consult your doctor if you are experiencing any of the symptoms. If you’re diabetic I suggest you schedule an appointment with an eye specialist as soon as possible, below are the contact details for Dr Claudine Pang.
Asia Retina Eye Surgery Centre
Address: #15-10 The Paragon, 290 Orchard Rd, Singapore 238859
Phone: +65 6732 0007