EC Healthcare (Stock Code: 2138)

Diabetic retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy, also known as diabetic eye disease, is one of the diabetic complications in which the endothelium of the retinal blood vessels is damaged due to poorly-controlled blood sugar level, causing retinal vascular disorders. The retina is fully covered by tiny blood vessels and the retinopathy can lead to blockage of the blood vessels, resulting in reduced blood supply to the retina, lack of oxygen and triggering the growth of new blood vessels. The abnormally fragile new blood vessels are prone to rupture and bleed and leak into the vitreous humour. Retinal hypoxia and even oedema and death of optic nerve cells result in vision loss. Diabetic eyes can cause a range of pathologies such as glaucoma and retinal detachment, which can lead to severe vision loss.

Causes of Diabetic Eye

Complications of diabetes mellitus

Diabetes for 5 years or more: 20-30% chance of developing diabetic eye

Diabetes for 15 years or more: 80% chance of developing diabetic eye

The risk of blindness is 25 times higher in people with diabetes than those without if the retinopathy is not treated properly.

Symptoms of Diabetic Eye

Mild cases

no obvious symptoms, vision not significantly affected: control of blood glucose levels and regular eye examinations are required

Moderate

some patients still have no symptoms: ongoing observation is required, but preventive treatment will be given if needed

Severe/Very Severe

Vision has been impaired: blindness, eye floaters, eye pain, blurred central vision, etc. Patients should receive medication or laser treatment and, if severe, surgery to control the conditions.

Mild cases

no obvious symptoms, vision not significantly affected: control of blood glucose levels and regular eye examinations are required

Moderate

some patients still have no symptoms: ongoing observation is required, but preventive treatment will be given if needed

Severe/Very Severe

Vision has been impaired: blindness, eye floaters, eye pain, blurred central vision, etc. Patients should receive medication or laser treatment and, if severe, surgery to control the conditions.

Treatments

People with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing diabetic retinopathy than the general public. Annual diabetic eye screening and control of blood glucose, blood pressure and blood lipid levels are recommended. In the event of diabetic eye, the following treatments can help improve the situation:

Laser treatment

Apply laser to destroy oxygen-deficient retina to prevent the growth of diseased blood vessels and to reduce leakage. The treatment also stimulates the peripheral retinal cells to absorb water, reducing the condition of macular oedema.

眼內注射
Intravitreal Anti-VEGF Injection

Inject anti-VEGF drugs into the vitreous to help inhibit vascular proliferation and vascular endothelial growth in the eye. It is expected to improve vision by reducing vascular leakage and bleeding.

Vitrectomy

In severe cases such as retinal detachment, intraocular haemorrhage or persistent macular oedema, vitrectomy can help restore vision. However, this is a complex procedure with a success rate ranging from 50% to 80%, depending on the individual case.

Eye Examination Schedule

Diabetics under 30 years old

It is recommended that eye exams be performed within 5 years of the discovery of diabetes and annually thereafter

Diabetics over 30 years old

It is recommended to have an eye exam as soon as you find out you have diabetes, and annually thereafter.

The pregnant

Pregnancy can cause a rapid worsening of diabetic eye disease. When you are pregnant with diabetes, you should have an eye exam as soon as possible.

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