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Diabetic Retinopathy

The incidence of diabetes mellitus is on the rise world over, in India more than 60 million people are suffering from it. The consequence of diabetes includes Diabetic Retinopathy(DR) which is a major cause of avoidable blindness around 12-18% of diabetic population develops Diabetic Retinopathy.

Diabetes causes the weakening of blood vessels in the body. The blood vessels in the retina are tiny and delicate and thus are more prone to undergo this deformation. Thus, these deformation and accompanied by structural changes of the retina is termed as Diabetic Retinopathy which leads to loss of vision.

The patients initially wouldn’t suffer from any symptoms and they will have perfect vision even though there would be bleeding and swelling of the retina. It is treatable at this stage so it is vital to get your retina examined regularly even though the vision is normal.

Some of the symptoms are:

  • Blurred Vision
  • Flashes
  • Floaters
  • Visual impairment


Laser is widely used treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy, a high energy beam is used to stop or slow down the progression of diabetic retinopathy. Laser treatment is usually treated as an out-patient procedure. The ophthalmologist guides the laser beam on the diseased tissue which either reduces the retinal thickening or halts the bleeding. Some temporary side effects are caused post this treatment such as mild headache, watering of eyes and glares.

Vitrectomy: Due to the bleeding of the weakened vessels into the vitreous vision can be significantly reduced. These are signs of advance Diabetic Retinopathy. In these circumstances the vitreous is surgically removed (vitrectomy) and replaced by a clear artificial solution.

Every diabetic is at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. It is very important to get your retina checked if you are suffering from diabetes periodically as there are no initial symptoms for DR. Sometimes DR can occur in patients who have their blood sugar in control.

Mainly the vision loss is caused due to two conditions:

Diabetic Macular Edema: The weakened blood vessels leak and accumulate fluid in the retina which causes swelling and exudation in the macula of the retina causing loss of vision

Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy(PDR): Due to the weakening of the blood vessels, new abnormal blood vessels grow or proliferate causing bleeding into the vitreous. Vitreous is a jelly like substance in front of the retina. A severe vision loss occurs due to the bleeding into the vitreous.

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