Diabetic retinopathy is one of the most common causes of blindness in industrialised countries, affecting the retina of diabetic patients. See Eye Anatomy drawing below to see where the retina is.
Diabetes affects up to 3% of the world population. Diabetic Retinopathy refers to the effect of diabetes on the retina (the light sensitive part of the back of the eye). Not everyone with diabetes gets diabetic retinopathy, but it is related to the duration of the diabetes and the metabolic control of the patients. Patients that control their diabetes poorly can develop retinopathy within a few years whilst patients that control their diabetes well may not develop retinopathy at all.
Diabetic retinopathy affects the small arteries and capillaries in the retina, causing haemorrhages within the retina or to the vitreous cavity and growth of abnormal blood vessels within the retina. It presents with blurred or distorted vision due to vitreous abnormalities and macular oedema. If untreated, late stage proliferation diabetic retinopathy can cause retinal detachment, severe glaucoma (neovascular glaucoma) and blindness.
Early diabetic retinopathy is often asymptomatic. The retina should be screened regularly to detect early background diabetic retinopathy that may progress. Symptoms depend on how advanced the disease is but the main one is visual impairment to some degree.
The treatment for diabetic retinopathy depends on what type of diabetes in the eye you have. Sometimes treatment is not needed, and it is enough to sustain good metabolic control and have ophthalmological examinations regularly. If the disease continues to progress despite this, the next step may be laser treatment. Patients with neovascular glaucoma, retinal detachment or haemorrhages inside the eye may require medical treatment and vitreoretinal surgery. The new medical treatments for diabetic retinopathy may involve eye injections of special drugs which arrest the retinopathy and stabilise or improve the vision. Two Retinal Ophthalmologists do this at Clinica London, eye surgeons Michel Michaelides and Jaheed Khan specialise in diabetic retinopathy.
The result is a stabilised or improved vision.
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“Just keep up the good work Dr Khan. My wife, who accompanied me, and I were both very impressed by the care and consideration shown by the whole team when I had surgery. I just hope they haven’t lost the knack by the time I get my other eye fixed. joking apart the care of this team has made it a wonderful experience for me.”
“Dear Michel, My wife and I wish to thank you for your kindness and attention with regard to my poor eyesight. Your caring attitude and honest approach to help relieve my problem and find the best solution is overwhelming. And it is with this in mind we would like to express our sincere thanks for everything you have done for me. Kind regards, Maurice K”
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