Diabetic Retinopathy – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment!

Diabetic Retinopathy – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment!


By Dr. Shalini Shetty, Ophthalmology

If the people suffering from diabetes find their vision clouded or distorted, then the condition is called Diabetic Retinopathy. The vision gradually grows weaker till there is a complete loss of vision. The best way of prevention is to control diabetes & maintain sugar levels.

Causes Behind the Condition-

  1. If the sugar content in blood is high, then it might lead to clogging of the small blood vessels that supply blood to the retina. The eye tries to compensate for the narrowing blood vessels by growing new blood vessels. These are in some cases weaker, liable to leak and can to serious complications.
  2. In some cases, the newly grown blood vessels are not weak, but they interfere with the stable flow of liquid. This puts undue pressure on the eyeball. In such cases, the optic nerves are damaged, causing glaucoma.

Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy-

  1. Symptoms are usually developed in the later stages of the diabetic retinopathy. Sometimes clouding of the vision indicates this.
  2. Eye floaters are common symptoms for Diabetic Retinopathy. These are strips of protein and blood cells that float before the lens obstructing clear vision.
  3. If your normal color vision begins to fluctuate from time to time, Diabetic Retinopathy is a likely explanation.
  4. A gradual loss of vision is experienced leading to complete blindness in severe cases.

Even if you do not have any eye symptoms, get your eyes checked every 6 months. In the initial stages of diabetic retinopathy, there may be no symptoms.

Treatments for Diabetic Retinopathy-

The treatment procedures for diabetic retinopathy are usually surgical:

  1. Vitrectomy: A tiny incision is made in the eye to remove the blood accumulating in the middle of the eye along with the scar tissue that the retina has on it.
  2. Treating with Focal Laser: Laser burns are used to treat the faulty blood vessels that are leaking.
  3. Treating with Scatter Laser: This treatment uses laser burns to shrink the malfunctioning or leaking blood vessels or the scar tissue that clouds vision by accumulating on the retina.
  4. Intravitreal Injection Surgery  : This treatment includes a shot of medicine into the vitreous, near the retina at the back of the eye