Diabetic eye disease can affect different parts of the eye: macula, retina, optic nerve and lens. The diabetic eye disease leads to the following eye conditions:
- Diabetic macular edema (DME)
- Diabetic retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy affects the light-sensitive tissue called retina and eye blood vessels. This disease causes vision loss, vision impairment and blindness among people with diabetes.
Diabetic macular edema appears after diabetic retinopathy and is represented by a swelling in the area of the retina, named macula.
Diabetic eye disease can also include glaucoma and cataract. All of the diseases may cause significant vision loss and even blindness.
Retinopathy may not need any treatment when it is on its early stage, later it may require either injections of medicine into eye or laser treatment.
You may need an immediate treatment if you have:
- Stage one (background) or two (pre-proliferative) retinopathy
- Maculapathy with no symptoms
You are highly recommended to pass a regular screening check each year to watch the progress of your retinopathy. Your doctor may also give you some advice on how to control your diabetes.
If maculopathy is found, you may require a more frequent medical testing, which is called optical coherence tomography. As an additional test, you may be prescribed a fluorescein angiography that uses dye and camera to examine blood flow in the back of the eye.
The main aim of laser treatment is to stabilize the changes in the eyes caused by diabetes. This treatment is not going to improve your sight in general, but it may do it in some cases. This type of laser treatment is known as photocoagulation.
You might need one or more visits to the laser treatment clinic. Photocoagulation is not a very painful procedure.
Intravitreal injections can be used to treat age-related macular degeneration. But recent researches have also shown that the procedure can also improve the vision of people with diabetic maculopathy.
Both the eye and the skin around it will be cleaned before the procedure. The area around the eye will be covered with a drape that will keep the eye free of infection. Provided with a local anesthetic eye drops, you won’t feel any pain during injection. Most of the patients usually need from 6 to 10 injections in the first year of treatment. The amount of them decreases in the second and third years.