Retina and diabetesWhat exactly is the retina?The eye is like a camera (camera). The lens in front of the eye focuses the light on the retina. You can think of the retina as the camera film. In fact it is a photosensitive layer of tissue inside the eye, it receives the light and sends the image (visual information) in the human brain.
Diabetic retinopathyWhat is diabetic retinopathy?The most serious among the diabetic eye diseases concerns the retina and it is called diabetic retinopathy (diabetic retinopathy). The disease causes severe damage to the blood vessels that supply nutrients to the retina. This damage caused to those result in hemorrhages, tissue necrosis and the creation of neovascularization. Juvenile diabetes nowadays is quite a widespread disease resulting in affecting individuals and young age. It is very important for diabetics to regularly control their blood sugar.
SymptomsSymptoms:Diabetic retinopathy is an insidious disease characterized as one of the most common causes of vision loss (blindness). The main symptoms are listed below:
- fluctuations and blurred vision
- floaters, flashing lights
- shadows in some areas of the visual field
StagesWhat are the stages of diabetic retinopathy?
- Substrate Retinopathy (non-productive) is the early stage of the disease. At this stage the image of the fundus shows microaneurysms, hemorrhages, exudates and edema on the retina. When the leakage of components from blood to tissues is the most central point of the retina (the macula) then we have macular edema. The above is a result of failure of diabetes in the small vessels (capillaries) of the retina. Considered as a warning stage since the vision is not usually affected significantly
- Proliferative retinopathy (productive) due to poor blood circulation to the retina, areas of low oxygenation are created (ischemia). The eye, responding to such a situation creates new pathological (abnormal) vessels which are very sensitive (have weaker walls), which can break and bleed. The final stage of the productive retinopathy includes vitreous hemorrhage, scarring, detachment, neovascular glaucoma and vision loss
TreatmentGiven the extent of the damage, the main treatments are:
- Photocoagulation with laser: in this process, the laser light beam helps cauterize the bleeding retinal vessels. Repeated shots of the laser prevent abnormal vessel growth. The primary objective of the process is the stabilization of vision
- Intravitreal injections (injections) are the latest development in the treatment of pathological neovascularization and retinal edema. The intravitreal injection is actually an injection within the eye. Essentially a special drug is infused that blocks the action of the VEGF. The VEGF (Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor), is encouraging the development of pathological, abnormal vessels, i.e. neovascularization
- Cryotherapy: where we have extensive blood opacities in the vitreous, laser surgery can not be used until the blood is stabilized or purified. In these cases the "freezing" of the retina may help shrink the abnormal blood vessels
- Vitrectomy: it is the surgical treatment and it is selected in advanced cases of proliferative (productive) diabetic retinopathy. The ophthalmologist performs a surgical intervention of a resection of the hazy vitreous (removal thereof and replacement with a clean solution)
The only certainty is that regardless of the above treatments, the diabetic patient should systematically controls blood sugar levels and keep the medication they have been prescribed. Frequent visits to your eye doctor are necessary.Watch the educational video with photocoagulation (pascal laser photocoagulator):