Diabetic Retinopathy: A Silent Threat to Your Vision Eye Care January 9, 2024

Diabetic Retinopathy: A Silent Threat to Your Vision

Our vision is a precious gift that allows us to perceive the world in incredible detail. The thought of losing it can be terrifying. Unfortunately, diabetic retinopathy, a silent leading cause of vision loss, has already affected thousands. Luckily, Eyeonce Eye Clinic Gangnam has the vast knowledge, extensive experience, and state-of-the-art facilities to combat this eye-threatening condition.

Eyeonce Eye Clinic’s resident ophthalmologists, Paik Dong Won, Head Director, and Jung Sae Rom, Medical Director, are renowned specialists in treating diabetic retinopathy.

What is Diabetic Retinopathy?

It is an eye condition that mainly affects people with diabetes. It happens when high blood sugar levels impair the vessels in the retina—a light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. If left untreated, the damage sustained by the vessels can result in a range of visual implications, not to mention vision loss or blindness.

 

The three different forms of diabetic retinopathy are Non-Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (NPDR), Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (PDR), and Diabetic Macular Edema (DME), which are based on its progression and associated complications.

  • In NPDR, or the early stage of the disease, the retina’s blood vessels weaken, resulting in leaking fluids or blood, leading to swelling and the formation of deposits. During NPDR, there are no noticeable symptoms yet; however, with careful management and monitoring, the progression of your condition may be prevented.
  • When NPDR progresses to PDR, the new blood vessels grow on the retina’s surface. These new vessels are extremely fragile and prone to leaking blood into the vitreous—a gel-like substance that fills the eye’s center. These abnormal blood vessels can cause severe vision problems and retinal detachment when this happens.
  • DME explicitly affects the macula, the retina’s central area responsible for sharp and detailed vision. The prolonged fluid leakage from damaged blood vessels in the retina can lead to fluid accumulation in the macula, causing it to swell. When this happens, your vision becomes blurry or distorted, making it difficult to read, drive, or recognize faces.

To learn more about the type of diabetic retinopathy that you might have, it is best that you consult your ophthalmologist for proper guidance. Remember that proper and timely intervention can make a lot of difference in preserving your vision!

What are the symptoms of diabetic retinopathy?

This eye condition can present different symptoms, and the severity varies depending on the stage of the condition. However, these are some of the common symptoms associated with diabetic retinopathy:

  • Floaters – One of the early signs of diabetic retinopathy is the presence of floaters, which are specks or shapes that appear to float across your field of vision. They look like bugs or dust particles and are even more noticeable when looking at a bright background.
  • Blurred or restricted vision – As diabetic retinopathy progresses, you may experience blurred vision or a sense of vision is restricted, which feels like a curtain blocking some parts of your vision field. It happens due to swelling and leakage of fluids into the retina, leading to distorted or unclear vision.
  • Worsening vision – As your diabetic retinopathy advances, you may notice a gradual decline in vision quality. You may also notice a progressive deterioration in your ability to see clearly, especially when reading or focusing on objects.
  • Hemorrhaging and decreased vision – In the advanced stage of diabetic retinopathy, the abnormal blood vessels that develop can rupture and bleed into the vitreous, causing sudden or gradual vision loss and decreased visual acuity.

Take note that in the early stages of diabetic retinopathy, noticeable symptoms may not be very evident. It is essential to have regular comprehensive eye examinations, especially when you notice changes in your vision or if you experience any of the symptoms above.

Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment Methods at Eyeonce Eye Clinic Gangnam

At Eyeonce Eye Clinic Gangnam, we have exemplary eye doctors and provide a range of proven and effective treatment methods for diabetic retinopathy. Here are the options that might be perfect for you, depending on your case.

  • Laser Treatment (Photocoagulation) – This is a widely used treatment for diabetic retinopathy because it involves using a focused laser beam to seal off leaky blood vessels or treat abnormal retina growth. This treatment is typically an outpatient procedure often performed in multiple sessions to achieve the desired results.
  • Injection of Medications (Intraocular Injections) – These injections deliver targeted drugs, such as steroids, into the eye’s vitreous cavity. They help reduce inflammation, control abnormal blood vessel growth, and improve the retina’s health. This treatment option is done under local anesthesia. It is well-tolerated by patients.
  • Vitrectomy – This treatment method is needed, especially in advanced cases of diabetic retinopathy when there is significant bleeding or scar tissue formation in the vitreous. During vitrectomy, the vitreous gel is removed from the eye and replaced with a clear saline solution, allowing better visualization and treatment of underlying retinal issues. Patients who undergo this method experience a period of post-operative recovery.
  • Careful Regulation of Diabetes – Managing diabetes plays a significant role in diabetic retinopathy treatment. We emphasize the importance of tight blood sugar control, blood pressure management, and a healthy lifestyle to reduce the progression of diabetic retinopathy.

At Eyeonce Eye Clinic, we provide personalized care, educate our patients about their conditions, and utilize advanced technologies to provide treatment for diabetic retinopathy effectively. We aim to preserve and improve your vision so you can have the quality of life you deserve!

Consultation process at Eyeonce Eye Clinic

  • If you suspect that you have diabetic retinopathy, schedule a consultation with Eyeonce Eye Clinic. You can do so online by visiting our official website.
  • During the consultation, our ophthalmologists will take your medical history, ask about your symptoms, and run a series of tests and examinations to identify your condition.
  • After taking your medical history and conducting the exam, our eye doctors will recommend a custom-fitted course.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

It is diagnosed through an extensive eye examination performed by your ophthalmologist, which includes dilating the pupils, assessing the retina’s health, checking for abnormal blood vessels, and using imaging techniques to evaluate the extent of retinal damage.

The degree of vision improvement or restoration depends on the severity of your condition and the effectiveness of the treatment. Early detection and regular eye examination are key as some severe or advanced cases of diabetic retinopathy may be irreversible. 

At Eyeonce Eye Clinic, we offer the following treatments: Laser Treatment (Photocoagulation), Injection of Medications (Intraocular Injections), Vitrectomy, and Careful Regulation of Diabetes. To learn more about these, visit our website.

Conclusion

Diabetic retinopathy is a severe eye condition that may lead to vision loss if left untreated. With early detection, proactive management, and regular eye checkups, the impact of diabetic retinopathy can be minimized. If you suspect having this condition, head to Eyeonce Eye Clinic-Gangnam to have our expert ophthalmologist educate you more about it. Book an appointment with us today!

For patients who have had treatment
with us in the past, anyone you refer will get their eye exam for free (value 200 000KRW) and a loyalty discount