Diabetic Retinopathy



Diabetic retinopathy is caused by complications of diabetes to blood vessels of the retina. Diabetic retinopathy can lead to poor vision and even blindness.

There are two stages of diabetic retinopathy:

i.  Non-proliferative damage

ii. Proliferative is more advanced and severe

Figure :  Comparisons between Non-Proliferative diabetic retinopathy & Proliferative diabetic retinopathy

Signs & Symptoms

Diabetic retinopathy has no early warning signs because vision loss is not noticeable until damage has occurred.

As the disease progresses, symptoms may include:


• Spots or dark strings floating in your vision (floatesrs)

• Fluctuating vision

• Vision impairment

Figure : Normal vision

Figure :  Same scene viewed by a person with diabetic retionapthy

Risk Factors

Diabetic retinopathy can happen to anyone who has diabetes. These factors can increase your risk of:

► Duration of diabetes - the longer you have diabetes, the greater your risk of having diabetes retinopathy

► Poor control of your blood sugar level

► High blood pressure

► High cholesterol

► Pregnancy

► Tobacco use like smoking


Laser treatment (photocoagulation) can be an effective treatment for diabeteic retinopathy. It does not cure completely, but can prevent, delay and sometimes reverse vision loss.


When diabetic retinopathy causes bleeding (haemorrhage) into the vitreous gel, surgical removal of the vitreous (vitrectomy) may help to improve vision.


Some anti-VEGF (Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor) medicines, such as ramibizumab (Lucenits) can help to shrink new blood vessels in proliferactive diabetic retinopathy.

Figure :  Vitrectomy Instrument



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