06 Jul 2019


Diabetic Retinopathy is the damage caused to the blood vessels of the light-sensitive tissue of the retina due to diabetes mellitus.


  1. Early Diabetic Retinopathy
  2. Advanced Diabetic Retinopathy


Uncontrolled sugar in blood blocks the blood vessels that nourishes the retina, cutting of its blood supply. Due to this, the eye tries to grow new blood vessels. These vessels don’t develop properly and leak into the eye, building a pressure. The pressure damages the eye and causes Diabetic Retinopathy Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is another cause of this condition.


Symptoms are not seen in the early stages. As the disease progresses, symptoms may be:

  1. Blurred and fluctuating vision
  2. Dark stings or spots floating in the vision
  3. Dark or empty areas in the vision
  4. Impaired color vision
  5. Specks of blood in vision
  6. Blindness

Complications like:

  • Vitreous hemorrhage
  • Retinal detachment
  • Glaucoma


  • Visual acuity test
  • Pupil dilation
  • Ophthalmoscopy or fundus photography
  • Fundus Fluorescein Angiography (FFA)
  • Optical coherence tomography (OCT)
  • Eye examination to look for signs like leaking blood vessels, damaged nerve tissue etc.
  • IDx-DR, an Artificial Intelligence (AI) device to analyze images of retina


CF cannot get completely cured but treatment can ease the symptoms and reduce complications

  • Laser surgery
  • Vitrectomy
  • Injection of Steroids or Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) into the eye
  • Antihypertensives to treat hypertension
  • Avoid tobacco intake
  • Treatment of OSA
  • Laser photocoagulation
  • Modified grid to treat macular edema
  • Panretinal photocoagulation (PRP) or scatter laser treatment
  • Medications like Intravitreal triamcinolone acetonide


  • Duration of diabetes, i.e., the longer the duration of diabetes, the greater is the risk
  • Uncontrolled blood sugar
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Tobacco intake
  • Pregnancy

Patients suffering from Down’s syndrome never acquire diabetic retinopathy.


  • Monitor and control blood sugar
  • Control blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Quit smoking
  • Go to doctor immediately on vision changes


African-American, Hispanic and Native American have a higher risk of getting diabetic Retinopathy.

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