Key community eye health messages
Diabetic retinopathy and its risk factors
• Diabetes increases the risk of various eye diseases, including diabetic retinopathy (DR), which affects the blood vessels within the retina.
• DR can affect both eyes and if left untreated, may cause vision loss.
• Risk factors for developing DR include poorly controlled blood sugar levels, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol levels.
Progression of diabetic retinopathy
• Over time, uncontrolled blood sugar can lead to abnormal growth or blockage of retinal blood vessels.
• Abnormal vessel growth due to reduced oxygen flow can result in retinal scarring and detachment.
• Fluid accumulation and swelling in the macula can lead to blurred vision.
• In later stages, irreversible damage causes blindness.
Screening and intervention in diabetic retinopathy
• DR often has no early symptoms, so many people with diabetes may not notice changes in their vision.
• The disease can progress unnoticed until it reaches advanced stages, potentially causing irreversible damage and blindness.
• Yearly retinal examinations are crucial to detect the early signs of DR, allowing for timely intervention
• Treatment usually maintains vision but does not restore vision that has already been lost.
• People at risk of vision loss due to DR can receive treatments such as laser therapy, anti-VEGF treatment, or vitreoretinal surgery. The choice of treatment depends on the stage of the disease and other individual factors.