Diabetes and Your Eye

Retinal photographs of different stages of diabetic retinopathy. The top right photographs is of a normal retina.

Diabetes affects the blood vessels of the entire body, but damage is mostly seen in the blood vessels of the eye (retina), kidneys, heart, and brain.

Blood vessel damage leads to their blockage, bursting seen as bleeding, leakage of blood proteins and water, and formation of new blood vessels.

The retina is a light-sensitive layer located at the back of the eye. Each of these processes has a different effect on the delicate retinal structure.

The retina is the only part of the human body where we can directly see blood vessels, and assess the effects of diseases like diabetes.

Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) is an important cause of permanent vision loss, and can even lead to blindness. DR proceeds through various stages. In the early stages of the disease, the patient most often does not have any vision-related complaints. If such a stage is reached, treatment can be initiated to preserve vision for the rest of one's life.

Two main retinal problems are seen in DR - new blood vessel formation, and leakage in the macula (the central part of the retina). These conditions require different treatments.

In general, DR can be treated by retinal laser, injections, surgery, or a combination of these. Treatment, when warranted, is safe and effective.

Prevention is the best strategy - a combination of Regular Retinal Examination (advised by your retina specialist), and Good Diabetic Control are the keys to vision preservation.

Dr. Devendra Venkatramani is a proud alumnus of the prestigious Sankara Nethralaya Eye Hospital, Chennai. He underwent rigorous training in the medical and surgical management of retinal diseases at LV Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad. He has been awarded the coveted FRCS and FICO degrees.
Dr. Devendra is a consultant vitreo-retinal surgeon at Ruby Hall Clinic, Pune. He is also availalble at the Wagh Eye clinic , Ghole Road for consultation by prior appointment on Saturdays


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