Information on Diabetes and Eye Care

Diabetes_eyeWe cannot prevent diabetes in spite of lifestyle changes & healthier living but we can certainly prevent vision loss due to diabetic retinopathy. High levels of blood sugar can lead to early Cataract development and or can lead to a condition known as Diabetic Retinopathy.

Nine out of ten people with diabetes will over a period of time eventually develop a complication that affects the eyes known as diabetic retinopathy. This condition affects the retinal blood vessels and can lead to blindness, however if diagnosed and treated early much of this vision loss can be prevented.

Can Diabetes damage Retina and become cause of Diabetic retinopathy?

The retina is like the film in a camera. It is the seeing tissue of the eye. When the focused light hits the retina, a picture is created and sent to the brain through the optic nerve (the nerve of the eye), thus giving us vision.

Retina has Two Parts: The peripheral retina and central Macula. Macula being the central part is capable of producing sharp and clear image. These clear images enable us to read, write and do all fine work.

Conditions like Diabetes :

  • Age related Macular degeneration
  • Macular holes can damage Macula.

Diabetic retinopathy occurs when diabetes damages the tiny blood vessels in the retina. At this point, most people do not notice any changes in their vision. Some people develop a condition called macular edema. It occurs when the blood vessels leak fluid and lipids onto the macula, (The central part of the retina that lets us see in detail). The fluid makes the macula swell, thus blurring the vision.

fundus camera


Normal Retina


Early Diabetic Retina


Bleeding on Retina

As the disease progresses, it enters its advanced, or proliferative stage. Fragile, new blood vessels grow along retina and the clear, gel-like vitreous that fills the inside of the eye. Without timely treatment, these new blood vessels can bleed, cloud vision and destroy the retina.

What are the symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy?

It often has no early warning signs. At some point, through, patient may have macular edema. It blurs vision. In extreme cases, a person will only be able to tell light from dark in that eye. It may take the blood anywhere from a few days to months to clear.


Normal Retina Forming
Clear Image


Blurred Retina in Case of
Diabetic Retinopathy

How diabetic retinopathy is diagnosed?

By detailed dilated eye examination and by doing specialized tests like Flurescein Angiography and OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography). Angiography and OCT decide the stage of diabetic retinopathy and treatment of diabetic retinopathy.

Digital Fluorescein Angiography

In this test, a special dye is injected & pictures are then taken as dye passes through the blood vessels in the retina. This test is done to find out stage of diabetic retinopathy (to find the leaking blood vessels) and decide further line of treatment.

Color Photograph of Retina

Color Photograph of Retina


Digital Angiograph

Optical Coherance Tomography (OCT)OCT

OCT can measure retinal thickness precisely and repeatedly. It can measure minute changes, making it ideal for follow ups in retinal diseases, such as diabetes. Yash Eye Hospital  is equipped with most advance Optovue OCT system.

How Diabetic Retinopathy is Treated at Yash Eye Hospital?

lensThe treatment for diabetic retinopathy include

  • Laser treatment
  • Special Injections like Inj. Avastin or
  • Surgery (Virectomy).

These are very effective in reducing vision loss from the disease. In fact, even people with advanced retinopathy have a 90% chance of keeping their vision when they get treatment before the retina is severely damaged.

Laser Treatment

Is one of the most important and is one of the most widely used techniques. In the early or non-proliferative stages the laser is used to seal leaking areas from the blood vessels. this is called as Focal Laser Therapy.


A Virectomy is performed if there is a long standing non absorbing vitreous hemorrhage (blood inside the eye).

How to prevent loss of vision because of Diabetic Retinopathy?

  • It has been proved that better control of blood sugar levels slows the onset and progression of retinopathy and lessens the need for laser treatment or surgery.
  • Co-existing high blood pressure can speed up diabetic changes in the eye, so blood pressure also should be kept under control
  • Stop smoking: smoking causes narrowing of the blood vessels, which can aggravate the diabetic changes in the eye.
  • Have regular eye checkups: All patients with diabetes should have an thorough eye examination through dilated pupils at least once a year. If patient has severed retinopathy, he/she may need to have a eye examination more often.