standard-title Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic Retinopathy

If the blood sugar level of diabetic patients remains at high levels for a long period, disorders will occur in the small blood vessels in the retina, a condition called diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is the main cause of blindness among persons aged 20 to 65 years.



Often there are no symptoms in the early stages of diabetic retinopathy, so prevention and early detection are very important.

Early stage:
Platelet aggregation occurs in retinal micro vessels, causing bulges, blocking, reduction of oxygen supply to the retina (retinal hypoxia) or leakages of fluid and blood into the retina.


If the macula is damaged, the patient may experience visual decrease or deformation of observed objects.


If the damage occurs in other parts of the retina, the patient hardly experience any symptoms and so it is not easy to notice that the diabetic condition is affecting the retina.

Advanced stage:
Prolonged reduced supply of oxygen to the retina (retinal hypoxia) will cause formation of new blood vessels from existing vessels (angiogenesis) on the surface of the retina. The structures of these new blood vessels are very fragile and disorderly, and they may lead to bleeding easily. They may contain fibrosis that may lead to retinal fibrosis. This condition can lead to:


Vitreous hemorrhage, which causes blurred vision;


Secondary retinal detachment; and/or


Secondary glaucoma



Diabetic retinopathy is diagnosed with dilated eye examination or retinal photography test called fluorescein angiography.


Prevention of Diabetic Retinopathy

Following the recommendations below may lower the risk of diabetic retinopathy or delay its onset and progression.

Control blood sugar level.
Keep a balanced diet.
Visit an ophthalmologist regularly for eye examination. Early detection can prevent damage to visual ability.


Treatment – Laser treatment

Using laser energy to coagulate and destroy part of the hypoxic retina to decrease vascular lesions or prevent vascular proliferation.
Multiple treatments may be required to deliver results.



Surgical removal of the vitreous gel to clear up hemorrhage so that light can pass to the retina.


Retinal Surgery

In general, advanced diabetic retinopathy needs to be treated with vitrectomy and epiretinal membrane (ERM) peeling. In cases where retinal detachment has occurred, retinal detachment surgery may be required.


Anti-VEGF intravitreal injection

Injection of Anti-VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) medicines into the eye has been effective in treating macular edema and inhibiting vascular proliferation, a great help in treating diabetic retinopathy.

Disclaimer: The contents of this website are for reference only. They are not, and should not be used as, diagnoses, medical treatments or recommendations for any drug. For enquiries, please contact Champion Eye Centre.