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Diabetic Retinopathy

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Statistically, today, the number of diabetes patients has been increasing constantly the latest survey found that over 3 millions of Thai people suffer from diabetes, a reason of having tissue an organ abnormalities including a condition called Diabetic Retinopathy.

Diabetic Retinopathy, a complication of diabetes caused by high blood sugar level that has been accumulated for a long time this has an effect directly on the retina since it is damaged by obstruction of blood sugar, as a result, the blood is unable to circulate normally. However, during the first stage symptoms such as blurred vision does appear slightly if a patient ignores it may certainly lead to “Blindness”

Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy

In the early stages of diabetes symptoms may not be shown but the following conditions can be found:

  • Seeing lines or spots similar to spider web
  • Distorted vision
  • Blurred vision
  • Feeling it is difficult to distinguish colors of things you see
  • Seeing things around having dark shading
  • Loss of vision

Causes of Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic Retinopathy caused by high accumulated blood sugar level that results in blood obstructed the vessels that nourish the retinal according to that the blood and pus are leaked spreading to every area of the retina. The large blood vessels will start to expand abnormally at the same time the macula may begin to swell; at the beginning of condition, severity can be light however it increasing of the clot may happen with more levels of severity.

When the retina blood vessels are damaged the body will start creating new blood vessels however the new vessels’ walls are not strong enough which causing bleeding from vitreous humour and may also create ulcer. The ulcer / lesion is a reason for retinal detachment, or if the new vessels disturb while fluid in the eyes is draining patient can feel itchy around the area affecting the retina which is also a cause of glaucoma.

There are many factors that increase the risk for developing more severity of condition, such as more time passing; patients avoid controlling sugar consumption, having high blood pressure, smoking or being pregnant.

Diabetic Retinopathy Prevention

The first thing to prevent or reduce the risk of diabetes is to select healthy foods and avoid foods with high sugar, high fat or strong taste such as salty or sweet, exercise regularly and control your body weight and BMI (body mass index between 18.5-24.9) | Diabetic diet | | Vegetarian diet for diabetic patients

  • quit smoking and stop drinking alcohol
  • taking medication to treat diabetes as prescribed by the doctor
  • Control blood sugar levels using a blood sugar meter to control
  • Control pressure levels the blood pressure of diabetic patients should not exceed 140/90 mmHg
  • Control blood lipid levels. People with diabetes should have no more than normal levels
  • Observe changes in vision, see a doctor immediately if there is a sudden change the vision, such as seeing things blurry or black spots, etc.
  • Patients should still visit an ophthalmologist for eye examination annually
  • Patients who are pregnant can have various symptoms including Diabetic Retinopathy therefore, receiving the eye examination within the first 3 months or as soon as knowing about pregnancy.
  • Seek medical attention immediately if you have any sudden vision problems.

Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment

Treatment aims to slow or stop various symptoms. Treatment method depending on the type and severity of the symptoms:

  • Advanced diabetic eye treatment given when the new blood vessels are built ; this stage patients may receive laser treatment or surgery ; procedures based on individual condition.

Eye complications

  • Vitreous hemorrhage the patient may see a black dot floating back and forth however if there is a large amount of blood leaking out, the whole vision may be blocked. Usually, patients with bleeding in the eye do not face permanent vision loss. It may take 2-3 weeks or a few months to get rid of the blood moreover, the patients may be able to see things again.
  • Retinal detachment Caused by lesion/ ulcer that detaches the retina causing the black spot that blocks sight with light or loss of vision.
  • Glaucoma the result of a group of new blood vessels that may occur at the front of the eye and intervene to draining which later increases the eye pressure. This causes damage to nerves that send images from the eye to the brain.
  • Blindness Both conditions Glaucoma and Retinal detachment can significantly lead to “Blindness”

Dr.Mattaya Kwananocha

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