Mr Venki Sundaram
Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon
MD FRCOphth MRCOphth BMBCh BSc

Diabetic Eye Disease

Diabetes is a condition in which there are increased levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood. Consistently high blood sugar can lead to damage of retinal blood vessels, which can lead to diabetic eye disease in the form of diabetic retinopathy (DR) and diabetic macular oedema (DMO).


What is Diabetic Retinopathy? (DR)

Diabetic retinopathy (DR) occurs as a result of blood vessel damage in the peripheral retina. Left untreated, fragile new blood vessels can grow in the retina. These have a tendency to bleed further, eventually causing loss of vision and scar tissue. For this reason, is it crucial to seek diabetic retinopathy treatment as soon as you are aware that you are affected by a more severe case.

What are the symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy?

Initially, you may experience small, retinal haemorrhages. However, this can progress to more widespread retinal bleeding with larger areas of the retina becoming starved of oxygen.

What does Diabetic Retinopathy treatment involve?

In mild cases, this type of diabetic eye disease only requires careful monitoring. However, preventative measures need to be taken in order to avoid progression and more severe symptoms.

  • Adequate control of blood glucose using dietary and lifestyle measures – oral diabetic therapy and insulin.
  • Good control of any raised blood pressure or cholesterol level.
  • Appropriate monitoring of any diabetic retinal changes.
  • Retinal laser therapy is used to control advanced DR.

Laser therapy, known as panretinal photocoagulation (PRP), is applied to affected areas of the retina in order to reduce the growth of new, abnormal blood vessels.


What is Diabetic Macular Oedema? (DMO)

This type of diabetic eye disease tends to occur at a later stage, with approximately 10% of diabetic retinopathy patients developing diabetic macular oedema. Caused by damage to the fine retinal blood vessels in the macular area of the eye, it can lead to leakage of proteins and fluid into the retina, as well as a reduction in vision. Left untreated, irreversible vision loss can occur due to permanent damage to the retinal photoreceptor cells.

In fact, diabetic macular oedema is one of the leading causes of visual impairment in the working age.

 

What treatment is available?

Similarly to DR, diabetic macular oedema requires preventative management via good control of blood glucose level and any raised blood pressure or cholesterol. However, if the disease does progress, the following treatments are recommended;

  • AntiVEGF therapy – shown to be the most effective in improving vision, patients normally require a course of injections aiming to reduce leakages.
  • Laser therapy – can also be effective in reducing leakages, often used in addition to AntiVEGF therapy if appropriate.
  • Steroid therapy – intravitreal steroid injections are administered to reduce swelling however is generally reserved for extreme cases where other treatments have failed.

 

Receive Diabetic Eye Disease treatment in Hertfordshire…

All of these treatments for diabetic eye disease are available at our Cobham Clinic in Luton, Hertfordshire clinics by trusted surgeon, Venki Sundaram. We offer appointmentsy at a range of times. Get in touch today for an informal chat or to find out more.

 

Mr Venki Sundaram