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Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is a diabetes-related eye condition that affects the blood vessels in the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. It is a leading cause of vision loss among individuals with diabetes. The condition develops when prolonged exposure to high levels of blood sugar causes damage to the small blood vessels in the retina, leading to swelling, leakage, and, in advanced stages, the growth of abnormal blood vessels. Regular eye examinations are crucial for early detection and management of diabetic retinopathy to prevent vision impairment and blindness.

Using Glucometer at Home

Patients with early stages of Diabetic Retinopathy do not have any symptoms.

With over 500 million people live diabetes around the world, every 1 in 10 people globally are living with diabetes. The disease affects about 10.5% of adult population (20-79 years), with almost half unaware that they are living with the condition. (International Diabetes Foundation)


Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of vision loss worldwide among patients with 25-74 years old.  By 2030, an estimated 191 million people around the world will have diabetic retinopathy, with approximately 56.3 million suffering from vision-threatening diabetic retinopathy. (EyeWiki)

If you have been diagnosed as a diabetic, it is important that you see an eye care professional and get a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year. Diabetic retinopathy may not have any symptoms at first — but an eye care professional will be able to see early features of the disease, which may require close observation or treatment. The observation or treatment may help you protect your vision in the long term. 

Diabetic retinopathy can develop in any type of diabetes - Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, or Gestational Diabetes.  


If you are diabetic and are pregnant, you should get an eye examination as soon as possible. Similarly, you should consult with your eye doctor about the frequency of eye examinations during the pregnancy.  

How do you lower the risk of diabetic retinopathy? Since diabetes is the main cause, you must control diabetes and try to keep your blood sugar levels within normal range. Exercise, diet and weight control are a mandatory part of diabetes control. 

What are the treatments for diabetic retinopathy? This is treated by different ways:

1. Intraocular injections -  You may require repeat injections over months to control the disease. 

2. Laser treatment - this type of laser is different from what is performed for correction of myopia (lasik). This laser treats the retina to reduce the chances of bleeding within the eye. 

3. Surgery - If the disease progresses, and is causing significant issue within the eye, vitrectomy surgery may be required to correct the situation inside the eye. 

Diabetic retinopathy in pictures

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