Diabetes mellitus is a condition which impairs the bodys ability to use and store sugar. For more than past two decades one has seen an increase in incident of diabetes in India. Today India has the largest number of diabetes in the world. This increased incidence and its complications has mainly been attributed to change in life style caused by increased urbanization, high calories diet, decreased physical activity and stress. Another cause for concern is that diabetes strikes at an early age among the urban population. Diabetic are also at high risk for eye complications, the most common one being diabetic retinopathy.
What is Diabetic Retinopathy ?
Diabetic Retinopathy is complication of the retina. This occurs more often in people who have diabetes for long time, who are taking Insulin or whose diabetes is not properly controlled. When a person is diagnosed with diabetes it isn't possible to predict at the time whether or not he or she will get diabetic retinopathy. However, about two third of people with juvenile-diabetes develops some signifigant diabetic retinopathy by 35 years.
Who is at risk of Diabetic Retinopathy ?
It has been seen that 25% of all diabetic develop Diabetic Retinopathy after 10 years of diabetes and 50% develop after 20 years of diabetes. If diabetes is not properly controlled. Diabetics also have a higher incidence of cataract and glaucoma and those with poorly controlled blood sugar and blood pressure are even at a higher risk of losing vision.
What are the symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy ?
Earlier diabetic retinopathy usually have no symptoms. gradually blurring of vision may occur if fluid leaks in the central part of the retina. In late diabetic retinopathy stage, new abnormal blood vessels begin growing on the surface of the retina or the optic nerve. These vessels have weak walls and leak blood into retina and vitreous. Presence of blood in the path of light entering the eye, blocks the vision thus cause blindness.
What are the treatments of Diabetic Retinopathy ?
Diabetes control and complication trial ( DCCT ) have shown that, a good control of diabetes is the best way of preventing complication. Having your eyes checked regularly by a eye specialist is the most effective way of Detecting any damage to your eyes. This should be at least every one year if you are taking insulin and every two years if you are taking other anti-diabetic drugs. However, if you are getting symptom like blurred vision especially if this comes suddenly, then visit an eye specialist should be immediate.
If damage to the retina has already occured laser treatment is very effective in preventing vision loss. Laser surgery works best if it isn't done too early or too late this is another reason why it is vital to detect eye damage promptly.
Do's and Dont's to control Diabetic Retinopathy
- Stop smoking immediately
- Check your blood sugar level atleast once in 6 months.
- If you are taking insulin, visit the eye specialist atleast once in a year.
- If you are on other Anti-diabetic drugs visit an eye specialist once in two years.
- The eye specialist knows your conditions throughly, so consult him on regular basis.
- Dosage must be maintained and strictly adhered too. One should not alter or stop medicine without consulting the eye specialist.