What is Diabetic Retinopathy?

Diabetic Retinopathy is the Serious eye disease caused by diabetes. Diabetic Retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness. Diabetic Retinopathy affect the delicate, light sensitive lining of the back of the eye (Retina).

Who gets Diabetic Retinopathy?

  • Long Duration Diabetes > 5 Years.
  • Severe & uncontrolled diabetes.

What are the stages of Diabetic Retinopathy?

There are two main stages of DIABETIC RETINOPATHY. Early stage called Non Proliferative Retinopathy. In this stage, retinal blood vessels start leaking fluid causing the retina to swell.The leaking fluid sometimes collects in the central part of the retina. This condition is called Diabetic Macular Edema. This can lead to difficulty in reading, distortion in vision and other activities involving close concentration.The advanced stage is called Proliferative Retinopathy. In This condition, new branch like blood vessels start growing on the surface of the retina.These abnormal blood vessels can bleed and cause vitreous hemorrhage. Proliferative Retinopathy can lead to very severe loss of sight resulting in blindness.

What is the procedure for detection of Diabetic Retinopathy?

It is extremely important for every diabetic patient to undergo regular checkup of the eye in order to detect the presence and extent of Diabetic Retinopathy. Frequency of eye check up depends upon severity of Diabetic Retinopathy.

  • First check up at the time of diagnosis of Diabetes. First check up at the time of diagnosis of Diabetes.
  • Once every year- if patient has no eye changes (Retinopathy).
  • Every 9 months- in case of mild Non Proliferative Retinopathy.
  • Every 6 months- in case of moderate Non Proliferative Retinopathy.
  • Every 3 months- in case of Proliferative Retinopathy
  • Every 3 months- in case of clinically significant macular edema.
  • Every 3 months – in case of Diabetic women during pregnancy.

What is Fundus Fluorescien Angiography?

Specialized technique used to study finer details of retinal blood vessels.

  • Florescein dye is injected into the vein at the back of the patient’s hand.
  • High resolution photographs of retina are taken. They capture details of the dye leaking from abnormal blood vessels.
  • This helps in diagnosing the stage of diabetic retinopathy present.

 What is OCT?

Optical coherence tomography is a new diagnostic procedure in which cross sectional tomographic images of the retinal layers are produced.

  • It is used to detect the presence, type and severity of retinal swelling (macular edema).
  • Response to treatment is also monitored by OCT.

What is B-Scan ultrasonography?

B-scan Ultrasonography is used to diagnose presence of blood within the vitreous cavity or separation of the retina from other layers of the eye ball (Tractional retinal detachment).

What is the importance of early detection and treatment in diabetic retinopathy?

Most of the visual loss from diabetic retinopathy can be prevented, provided it is diagnosed early. But once the damage has occurred, the effects are usually irreversible. It is quite common for a diabetic patient to have good vision without any realization of the changes happening in the retina. These changes if felt untreated could lead to sudden blindness due to bleeding.

What is the treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy?

Laser treatment or laser photocoagulation is the most common line of action in most cases of sight threatening Diabetic Retinopathy. It is very important to realize that laser treatment is aimed to save the existing sight level and not to make it better. Laser treatment is recommended to the patients who have swelling of the retina in the macular area or new blood vessel formation. Laser treatment usually takes three to four months to be fully effective.

What is ANTI VEGF (LUCENTIS) Injection?

ANTI VEGF (lucentis) is a medicine injected into the vitreous cavity of the eyeball.

  • This injection prevents or reduces new vessel formation in the retina.
  • It is also used to treat Macular Edema (swelling of retina).
  • More than one injection may be required in most cases.
  • Injection is painless, safe and takes only a few minutes.


Sometimes the new blood vessels bleed into the gel like centre (vitreous) of the eyeball. This condition called vitreous hemorrhage can lead to sudden loss of vision. Vitrectomy is a microsurgical procedure, which is undertaken to remove the blood and scar tissue from the vitreous cavity.

How to save eye sight in diabetes?

  • Stop smoking.
  • Control of hypertension.
  • Control of Hyperlipidemia.
  • Regular eye checkup.
  • Early and accurate diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy by FFA.