Treatment of diabetic retinopathy
Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disorder accompanied by elevated blood sugar (glucose) values and is characterized by disturbed metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. As a result of the long-term disease, complications develop on large and small blood vessels, nerves and various tissues.
One of the most common eye complications of untreated and unregulated diabetes is diabetic retinopathy, which occurs as a result of long-term, insufficiently controlled diabetes.
What is diabetic retinopathy?
It is a complication that arises slowly and patients often come to an ophthalmological examination in an advanced stage, when they have already lost their sight irreversibly. Diabetic retinopathy is a long-term disease that damages the retina and can lead to blindness. A particularly important part of the retina is the macula, the place on the retina where the image of the observed object is formed. The macula allows us to see, read, drive a car, recognize people on the road, watch television, etc. Macula disease, including diabetes, leads to significant vision loss.
Diagnosing diabetic retinopathy
The diagnosis is made by an ophthalmologist by examination of the retina, while fluorescein angiography and optical coherence tomography (OCT) are tests with which the course of the disease is monitored. We distinguish between two types of disease, non-proliferative and proliferative. The non-proliferative form of the disease is a mild type of the disease and occurs at the beginning of the disease. On the retina, there are hemorrhages, dilation of blood vessel walls, accumulation of fat and swelling of the retina due to leakage of blood vessels. If the swelling affects the macula, vision becomes impaired.
Treatment of macular swelling, depending on the type of swelling, can be treated with a laser or injections into the eye. These treatments reduce macular swelling by destroying blood vessels that leak fluid. Proliferative diabetic retinopathy is an advanced form of the disease in which, in addition to the previously mentioned changes of non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy, there are also the so-called newly created blood vessels (neovascularization) that lead to a series of complications that endanger vision. If they rupture, sudden visual impairment occurs because blood fills the vitreous and an increase in eye pressure or detachment of the retina may occur.
How is diabetic retinopathy treated?
Treatment of proliferative diabetic retinopathy must begin as early as possible and includes laser treatment of the retina, anti-VEGF injections and often surgery (vitrectomy). Patients suffering from diabetic retinopathy should, depending on the severity of their disease and in accordance with the recommendations of their ophthalmologist, have their diabetic retinopathy checked regularly, i.e. every few weeks/months.
The importance of regular ophthalmological examination
To preserve vision in diabetes, the most important thing is monitoring diabetes and blood pressure, as well as fats in blood. Careful monitoring and control of blood glucose levels can delay the occurrence and slow the progression of retinopathy. Since early detection is important, all diabetes patients should be checked by an ophthalmologist once a year. Pregnant women with diabetes should be monitored during each trimester. Continuous care for the health of the eyes in diabetes through regular visits to the ophthalmologist is a basic prerequisite for preserving vision and taking care of own health.
If you need an ophthalmological examination, contact us with confidence and arrange your appointment.