Diabetic retinopathy  
What is diabetic retinopathy?
 Diabetic retinopathy is a retinal condition when due to poorly controlled diabetes or due to long duration of the disease, the back side of eye( retina) starts getting involved.
Are all diabetics at risk?
The most important risk factor for developing retinopathy is the duration of diabetes. Other risk factors include how well diabetes is controlled, presence of hypertension, anemia.
How early should I get my retina checked?
All type 1 diabetics should get their first retinal exam ideally 5 years after diagnosis and then yearly thereafter All type 2 diabetics should have their first retinal exam just after diabetes is diagnosed. Thereafter every year is mandatory
I had diabetes during pregnancy!. Should I get my retina examined?
Gestational diabetes per say does not increase chances of diabetic retinopathy. Patients who had pre-existing diabetes prior to pregnancy though needs retinal exam during the course of pregnancy
Is diabetic retinopathy treatable?
Depending upon what stage the retinopathy is diagnosed at, the prognosis differs. Patients having minimal damage may have different chances of visual gain compared to those with higher grade of retinopathy. Aim of treatment is to prevent further damage.
How do I know I am having diabetic retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy is a painless disorder , where it gets diagnosed by retinal exam. Patients complaining of visual blurring specially those seeing a central black spot , or those having developed a recent reading difficulty are advised to have a retinal exam at the earliest. Only at later stages of disease the vision is greatly reduced
My parents had diabetic retinopathy. Am I at risk?
Diabetic retinopathy is multifactorial. Genetic role is yet to be answered. If children are diagnosed to have diabetes, its important to have a retinal exam.
How is diabetic retinopathy treated?
Depending on what stage the retinopathy is diagnosed , treatment options can vary. Treatment can range from just periodical observation to other modalities like laser, injections or surgery.
I have heard about injections for diabetic retinopathy. What is it?
Injections are a form of treatment used in diabetic retinopathy when there occurs accumulation of fluid inside the retina. Its important to understand that injections are just temporary treatment solutions, which work mostly when diabetes per say is also under control along with control of other systemic parameters. Injections may have to be repeated at frequent intervals, depending on need and response. Its important that patient understands a regular follow is essential for treating diabetic retinopathy
Is injection painful? Are there work restrictions?
The injection procedure is painless. Generally patient can resume normal activities within few hours of the procedure. The injection is performed in an sterile environment in an operation theatre.
What is laser?
Laser is a way of treating diabetic retinopathy. The entire procedure is done as an outpatient process and patient can resume normal activities within few hours. The laser treatment may be needed at frequent intervals Points to remember in treatment of diabetic retinopathy
  1.  Although earlier stages of retinopathy is reversible, later stages are not.
  2.  Aim of treatment is to prevent further damage.
  3. Its important to have a regular follow up as instructed by the doctor
  4. Apart from having a good diabetic control, its also important to treat blood pressure, kidney problems , anemia if any.
  5. Diabetic retinopathy treatment is a teamwork, where patients diabetologist, nephrologist also plays an important role in patient management
  6. Its important to remember, that any form of treatment used in diabetic retinopathy is not magic. If patient systemic condition is not controlled, treatment will not work.
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©   Dr. Bhaskar Ray Chaudhuri 2020