Diabetic retinopathy is a common complication of diabetes that can lead to vision impairment and blindness if left untreated. It is caused by damage to the tiny blood vessels in the retina, which can be a result of high blood sugar levels and high blood pressure. The severity of retinopathy is influenced by the duration of diabetes, blood glucose levels, and blood pressure levels. Diabetic retinopathy progresses through two stages: non-proliferative retinopathy, which causes microaneurysms, hemorrhages, and macular edema, and proliferative retinopathy, which involves abnormal blood vessel formation and can lead to vitreous hemorrhage and retinal detachment.
Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy include blurred vision, floaters, flashing lights, and sudden vision loss. The risk factors for developing diabetic retinopathy include longer duration of diabetes, poor blood sugar control, high blood pressure, kidney damage, smoking, obesity, and high cholesterol levels. Diagnosis is done through a comprehensive eye examination, including funduscopy, color fundus photography, fluorescein angiography, and optical coherence tomography.
The treatment of diabetic retinopathy involves controlling blood glucose and blood pressure levels. For macular edema, intraocular injections of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) drugs or corticosteroid implants, focal laser treatment, and vitrectomy may be used. Proliferative retinopathy may require anti-VEGF drugs, panretinal laser photocoagulation, or vitrectomy. Early detection through regular screenings and prompt treatment are essential to prevent vision loss and manage diabetic retinopathy effectively.