Are you Diabetic? Get your Eyes Checked

June 27th 2018Back

Diabetic retinopathy is a complication in the retina of the eye that affects people who have had diabetes for a number of years. If left untreated, it can cause blindness. Anyone with type 1 or type 2 diabetes is at risk of developing the condition.

High sugar levels in the blood damage and weaken the blood vessels in the eye that supply the retina with blood. As a result, the eye starts to grow abnormal blood vessels which can easily leak making it difficult for the individual to see clearly. In the early stages of diabetic retinopathy, there may not be any noticeable symptoms, but as it progresses, one will start seeing spots which lead to blurry vision. At later stages it can result in vision loss. 

Diabetics must regularly have their eyes checked annually, at the least. In order to maintain good vision, it is necessary to have a healthy retina. Pregnant women who are diabetic must have checkups too, as their blood volume is increased and their blood pressure changes, and this may affect their vision.

Early diagnosis and treatment is essential. Meeting regularly with the doctor and adhering to the prescribed medications will help keep the condition under control and prevent potential blindness. If diabetic retinopathy is not treated, and reaches an advanced stage, it can cause patients to lose their vision. In addition to maintaining blood sugar levels, fat and cholesterol levels must also be maintained to keep blood vessels from damaging.

An ophthalmologist will perform a dilated eye exam to look for damage in the eye. If diabetic retinopathy has reached an advanced stage, one may need laser treatment which can stop the leaking of blood and fluid into the eye. Another way to treat the condition is to shrink the abnormal vessels in the eye. Furthermore, an incision can be made into the eye to remove blood or any tissue that is disturbing the retina.

KIMS Bahrain Medical Centre offers screening and treatment for diabetic retinopathy through its Department of Ophthalmology. Dr. Shilpa V. Bandekar has 20 years of extensive experience in treating various ophthalmic cases. She has been working in the gulf region for the last 15 years, and prior to that had worked in India for a period of 8 years. Dr. Bandekar obtained her MBBS and MS in Ophthalmology in 1995 and 1998 from Mumbai University in India, respectively.