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Diabetic Retinopathy

What is Diabetic Retinopathy?

Diabetes retinopathy develops when high blood sugar levels damage blood vessels in the retina.

Diabetic Retinopathy Symptoms

Diabetic retinopathy symptoms frequently do not appear until significant damage has occurred inside the eye. They include

  • Blurred vision/ loss of vision
  • Seeing floaters or dark spots
  • Difficulty seeing at night
  • Difficulty distinguishing colors

Types of Diabetic Retinopathy

Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy

Non Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic Retinopathy Risk Factors

  • Diabetes: The longer a person has diabetes, the more likely it is that he or she will develop diabetic retinopathy, especially if the diabetes is poorly managed.
  • Other medical conditions, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol, increase the risk.
  • Pregnancy
  • Heredity
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Diet
  • Obesity

Diabetic Retinopathy Prevention

If you are diagnosed with diabetes, you must do the following:

  • Get regular eye exams and physical checkups.
  • Keep your blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure at healthy levels.
  • Be mindful of any changes you may notice in your vision, and discuss them with your doctor.
  • Timely treatment and appropriate follow ups are important.
  • Regular exercise

If you or someone close to you has developed diabetic retinopathy, make an appointment with the best eye surgeons at Accra Specialist Eye Hospital.

Stages of Diabetic Retinopathy

Mild non proliferative diabetic retinopathy – swelling in small areas of the blood vessels in the retina.

Moderate non proliferative diabetic retinopathy – some of the blood vessels in the retina will become blocked leading to hemorrhages

Severe non proliferative diabetic retinopathy – more blocked blood vessels, which lead to areas of the retina no longer receiving adequate blood flow

Proliferative diabetic retinopathy – new blood vessels will begin to grow in the retina, but they are fragile and abnormal, hence they can leak blood which will lead to vision loss and possibly blindness.

Diabetic maculopathy – blood vessels become leaky in the macula which is the central area of the retina which gives us the best vision

Diabetic Retinopathy Diagnosis

Visual acuity testing: This measures a person’s vision.

Tonometry: This test measures pressure inside the eye.

Pupil dilation: Drops placed on the eye’s surface widen the pupil, allowing a physician to examine the retina and optic nerve.

Comprehensive dilated eye exam: It allows the doctor to check the retina for:

  • Changes to blood vessels or leaking blood vessels
  • Fatty deposits
  • Swelling of the macula (Diabetic macular edema)
  • Changes in the lens
  • Damage to nerve tissue

Optical coherence tomography (OCT): It uses light waves to produce images of the retina to assess the amount of fluid.

Fundus fluorescein angiography (FFA): During this test, your doctor will inject a dye into your arm, allowing them to track how the blood flows in your eye. They’ll take pictures of the dye circulating inside of your eye to determine which vessels are blocked, leaking, or broken.

Treatment Modalities

The goal of any treatment is to slow or stop disease progression. Regular monitoring may be the only treatment in the early stages of non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy. Diet, exercise, and blood sugar control can all help slow the progression of the disease.

Laser: As the disease progresses, blood vessels can leak blood and fluid into the retina, causing macular edema. This leakage can be stopped with laser therapy. To prevent macular edema from worsening, a laser is used to target a specific leaky vessel in the macula. Widespread blood vessel growth in the retina, which occurs in proliferative diabetic retinopathy, can be treated by creating a pattern of scattered laser burns across the retina. This causes abnormal blood vessels to shrink and disappear.

Medical management: Injection of anti VEGF medication into the eye may help to reduce swelling of the macula, slowing vision loss and perhaps improving vision. Steroid injection into the eye is another option to reduce macular swelling.

Surgical management: The vitrectomy procedure involves the removal of scar tissue and blood from the vitreous fluid of the eye.

To get your eye examined, visit Accra Specialist Eye Hospital – Voted the Best Eye Hospital in Ghana. Visit Accra’s Finest Eyecare Facility today!  Our Services include are  Laser Eye Surgeries,  Micro Incision Cataract, Surgery (Phaco), Retina Surgeries, Phaco (Cataract), Gluacoma Surgeries, Cornea Surgery – Transplant , Oculoplastic Surgery and Child Eye Care Services.

We're an eye specialist hospital dedicated to providing the best care for you and your eyes. At Accra Specialist Eye Hospital, we are committed to delivering accessible and comprehensive eye care, to the highest possible standards. Our Expertise & Services Offered are Laser Eye Surgeries, Micro Incision Cataract, Surgery (Phaco), Retina Surgeries, Phaco (Cataract), Gluacoma Surgeries, Cornea Surgeru - Transplant , Oculoplastic Surgery and Child Eye Care Services. We're located at Tantra Hill - Accra.