Diabetic Retinopathy

Retina Specialist - Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetes is a condition that affects your body from head to toe, including your eyes. THe most serious eye complication of diabetes is diabetic retinopathy, if not treated can lead to poor vision or even blindness. Retinopathy is the medical term for damage to the tiny blood vessels that nourish the retina. These blood vessels are often affected by the high blood sugar levels due to diabetes. Initially most patients with diabetic retinopathy experience mild vision problems, but the condition can worsen and threaten your vision.

It starts with nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy in which the blood vessels become larger in some areas. Progresses to proliferative diabetic retinopathy where new blood vessels start to grow in the eye.


  • Blurry or double vision
  • Dark or blank spots
  • Pain or pressure in the eyes
  • Trouble seeing from the corner of the eyes

Risk factors

  • Having Type 2 Diabetes
  • Poorly controlled blood sugar levels
  • High blood pressure
  • High blood cholesterol
  • Pregnancy


Examination could have the following features:

  • Leaking blood vessels.
  • Retinal hemorrhage.
  • Swollen retina.
  • Fatty deposits in the retina.
  • Areas of nerve fiber damage (cotton-wool spots).
  • Changes in blood vessels.
  • Microaneurysms.
  • Formation of new blood vessels (neovascularization).
  • Vitreous hemorrhage.
  • Scar tissue formation with retinal detachment.

Lifestyle Changes

  • Controlling your blood sugar
  • Getting an annual check up to cehck your vision
  • Keeping your blood pressure in control
  • Controlling your cholesterol
  • Quit smoking
  • Controlling the stress


There are multiple treatment modalities dependant on the stage of the retinopathy.


Also known as laser treatment, is performed to stop the leakage of blood and fluid in the retina which slows down the progression

Panretinal Photocoagulation

For more advanced stages in retinopathy, a form of laser surgery called pan retinal or scatter photocoagulation is performed. In this technique, the entire retina except the macula is scattered with laser burns. This enables abnormal new vessels to shrink and disappear. Chances of vitreous hemorrhage and tractional retinal detachment are reduced.

You may notice some loss of peripheral vision afterward. Panretinal photocoagulation is a trade-off. Some of your side vision is sacrificed to save as much of your central vision as possible. You may also notice difficulties with your night vision.


In cases of vitreous hemorrhage that don't clear up on their own, vitrectomy is suggested. Clearing up of hemorrhage along with the vitreous and replacing it with a balanced salt solution to maintain the shape and pressure of the eye. This procedure also is indicated to remove scar tissue when it begins to pull the retina away, preventing a tractional retinal detachment.

What is Diabetic Retinopathy?

VissionTip : In case you have a history of diabetes, bi-annual check up with your doctor is a must along with keeping your blood sugar levels in check.