Comm Eye Health South Asia Vol. 36 No. 119 2023 pp 16. Published online 01 October 2023.

Key community eye health messages

Related content

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.