Diabetic Retinopathy: Treatment/Prevention

Diabetic Retinopathy is a very severe and common complication of long standing diabetes. There is no effective treatment available at the moment. The most effective therapy of diabetic retinopathy is prevention of Diabetic Retinopathy from developing.

Regular and complete examinations of eyes are required for the diabetic patients. If detected early the most eye complications including diabetic retinopathy can be treated successfully. Regular examination of the eyes by the diabetologist or primary care giver is not enough; the disease is required to be examined by ophthalmologist (eye doctor). If detected early laser photocoagulation is very successful in treating diabetic retinopathy and also in preserving vision. Proliferative type of diabetic retinopathy is treated with panretinal (entire retina) laser photocoagulation and that of macular edema is treated by focal laser photocoagulation (photocoagulation done on the focus of edema).

Most of the eye doctors (ophthalmologist) advice individuals with advanced diabetic eye disease (diabetic retinopathy and macular edema) to limit physical activities associated with repeated Valsalva maneuvers (blowing of the nose after closing the nose), but it has not been proved that exercise worsen proliferative diabetic retinopathy.

Prevention: Most effective therapy of diabetic retinopathy being prevention, patients of diabetes (both type1 and type2) should know how to prevent eye complications of diabetes. The best way to prevent complication (all complications including eye complications) is to have strict glycemic control (blood sugar within normal limit) and blood pressure control. This will delay the development or slow the progression of retinopathy in individuals with either type1 or type2 diabetes. Diabetics with known diabetic retinopathy can be given prophylactic (preventive) photocoagulation when initiating intensive therapy. During the first 6–12 months of improved glycemic control, established diabetic retinopathy may transiently worsen, but it is temporary in nature and in the long run there will be less chances of developing diabetic retinopathy. If advanced retinopathy develops, improved glycemic control will be less beneficial, although adequate ophthalmologic care will prevent most blindness’s due to diabetic retinopathy.

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