Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic Retinopathy

This is a condition that can affect the retina in patients with any type of diabetes. It is associated with previous poor diabetic control.

It is important that all diabetics have a regular retina or ‘fundal’ check either with their GP, Specialist, Optometrist or Ophthalmologist.

There are two types:

  • Maculopathy
  • Peripheral Diabetic Retinopathy

What is diabetic maculopathy?

This is caused by ‘leakage’ from blood vessels – we call this macula oedema or lack of blood supply at the macula – we call this macula ischaemia . Or a combination of both.
(see under macula hole for what the macula is)
This will cause ‘blurring’ or ‘distortion’ of your central vision, making reading and recognition of faces difficult.

Macula oedema can be treated with intravitreal injections or macula laser if detected early enough.

Other treatments are available such as steroid injections and Ozurdex implants.

What is peripheral diabetic retinopathy?

This is due to ischaemia (poor blood supply resulting in lack of oxygen to the retina). The retina develops new blood vessels as a response but unfortunately these bleed , leak and cause fibrous tissue to form which ultimately produces a localised detachment of the retina.

The only treatment is to ‘ablate’ or destroy the affected retina to prevent this ‘neovascular’ response with laser. Several laser sessions are required to control this condition.

Occasionally surgery is required for the more advanced stages of the disease.