Diabetic retinopathy (commonly known as diabetic eye disease)
The high-risk groups and symptoms
Type I and II diabetic patients have a risk of developing this complication, and the longer the patient's diabetic history, the higher his/her risk of diabetic retinopathy. Seriousness of the condition is decided by how effectively diabetes is controlled. In addition, hypertension, renal disease, hyperlipemia, hypercholesterolemia and pregnancy would also increase the risk and severity of deterioration of diabetic retinopathy. Since the periphery of the retina is not a core visual area, early diabetic retinopathy may not show any detectable symptoms. The eyes are not red or blurry and sight is normal so the patient may not be aware of its onset. When it develops into macular edema it results in blurred central vision. In serious cases the patient would lose sight completely without any pain.
Causes of pathological changes
When there are many capillaries in the retina, bleeding or heamorrhage of these vessels may more likely occurs in retina of diabetic patients. This will also cause extra secretion from the retinal layer cells and macular edema may also occure. During the later phase of diabetic retinopay, the heamorrhage or secretion will become more serious. Any forceful movements like moving heavy objects may lead to vascular rupture, the blood may even leak to the vitreous cavity and affecting the vision seriously. The patient will experience blurred vision and floaters. Rupture of proliferated capillaries may also cause vitreous contraction and fibrosis. The retina would detach under traction and vision is permanently impaired.
Ophthalmologic treatment methods for controlling diabetic retinopathy are laser photocoagulation or medical prescriptions.
- Slit-lamp microscope test: This test checks the conjunctiva, cornea, anterior chamber and lens.
- IOP test: Checking the intraocular pressure. Normal range of intraocular pressure is 10 to 21. Excessively high pressure calls for further examination.
- Perimetry: The patient is asked to press a button when he/she sees a light spot. This test checks the macula area and detects other optic nerve diseases.
- Fundus fluorescein angiography : This test checks the retinal blood vessels, such as the position and severity of macular angiogenesis.
- Dilated Fundus Examination: Eye-drop is applied before the test to enlarge the pupil. The macular area and retina are examined with focus lens to detect bleeding, detachment or diabetic retinopathy. Taking retinal photo is useful to trace the changes.
Source: PolyVision Eyecare Centre
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