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Diabetic Retinopathy

Updated: Apr 5, 2021

Answering common questions our patients ask. For scheduling with Dr. Bansal, MD(AIIMS, Delhi) International Council of Ophthalmology Certified, Retina Specialist click here.

Diabetic Retinopathy
Diabetic Retinopathy : Subhyaloid Hemorrhage

What is diabetic retinopathy? Why is it so dangerous?

High blood sugars damage the blood vessels all over the body. The retina, which is the back part of the eye, as a consequence can develop swelling, abnormal blood vessels leading to bleeding inside the eye, and sometimes retinal detachment. All of these can occur in Diabetic Retinopathy and can significantly hamper vision.

I have been diagnosed with diabetes only recently. Could my eyes still be affected?

Yes. Diabetes typically has been present for many years before it gets diagnosed. In this time, it may have affected your eyes. You need an eye checkup as soon as possible.

My blood sugar levels are always well controlled. Can my eyes still be affected?

Good blood sugar control goes a long way in preventing eye damage from diabetes. But you may have mild forms of retinopathy in spite of good sugar control. It is always advisable to get periodic eye checkups done.

What is the role of laser in diabetic retinopathy?

Laser reduces secretion of a chemical called VEGF (vascular endothelial growh factor) into the eye. This chemical is the main cause of most problems in diabetic retinopathy. By reducing its production, laser helps in control of the disease.

Diabetic Macular Edema OCT

What is the role of eye injections in diabetic retinopathy?

Just like laser, injections of specialized medications (e.g. Ranibizumab, Aflibercept, dexamethasone implants) into the eye reduce the effect of VEGF. This helps in control of the disease. These injections may be required alone, or in combination with laser for the management of diabetic retinopathy.

What is the role of surgery in diabetic retinopathy?

Surgery is required in advanced stages of diabetic retinopathy, when complications like vitreous hemorrhage and retinal detachment have occurred. While some patients improve dramatically with surgery, it should be avoided as much as possible. All efforts should be made by the patient and the doctor to prevent the disease from reaching the stage where surgery is required.

I have completely lost vision due to diabetic retinopathy. Can eye donation help me?

Eye donation involves replacing a damaged cornea, the transparent layer in front of the eye, with a new one. Unfortunately, there is no way to transplant a damaged retina. So, eye donation cannot help a patient with diabetic retinopathy.

My doctor has advised me laser/injections in my eye. Can I avoid the need for treatment by ensuring strict blood sugar control?

Good sugar control is a very important part of the treatment of diabetic retinopathy. Laser, injections or any other treatment works much better when sugar is controlled. But once the disease has progressed to the stage where treatment is required, it is unlikely to improve by just controlling the blood sugar

These are some of the common queries we hear, and we hope to address them all. For a more detailed discussion, with Dr. Mayank Bansal, MD(AIIMS, Delhi) International Council of Ophthalmology Certified, Retina Specialist click here.


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