Diabetic retinopathy and maculopathy
What is diabetic retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy is a complication caused by a increased levels of blood sugar with poor control that ultimately affects the retina, the very delicate light processing tissue in the eye. retinopathy occurs due to damaged blood vessels in the retina hence poor nutrition and oxygenation. As long as blood sugar is not controlled, grave complications of diabetes in the eye will occur.
Symptoms of retinopathy
Some early symptoms are temporary and minor but if you ignore them, the complications are serious become permenant:
- Blurring of vision
- Poor central vision when reading or driving
- Loss of color vision
- Black spots in the field of vision
Causes of diabetic retinopathy
High blood sugar leads to blockage of blood vessels that feed the retina, which in turn prevents the proper blood supply, causing a state of hypoxia. as a response to this hypoxia the eye tries to form new blood vessels to increase the blood supply but these blood vessels grow haphazardly and immaturely leading to the leakage of fluids and cells and proteins from their walls into the retina, a condition known as edema. This accumulated fluid damages the retina.
Treatment of diabetic retinopathy
Treatment method depends on the type and stage of retinopathy, there are many methods of treatment such as:
Intravitreal injections are the injection of certain types of drugs into the vitreous gel called “vascular endothelial growth factor inhibitors- anti VEGF” that help prevent the haphazard growth of immature and leaky blood vessels by preventing the effects of endothelial growth factors produced by hypoxic retina
Focal laser therapy
Focal laser therapy or photocoagulation can help stop leakages from these abnormal vessels by closing them off.
Panretinal laser therapy PRP
This type of treatment aims to reduce the overall surface area of hypoxic diseased retina and hence the amount of secreted VEGF is significantly reduced. The lasers burns are used to minimize small blood vessels and turn them into scar tissue.