India is fast becoming the world capital of diabetes. It will have the maximum number of diabetics in the world by the year 2025.Diabetes is the commonest cause of blindness and vision impairment in the age group 20 to 60 years.

  • Compared to the general population, people with diabetes have about a 25-fold risk of vision impairment
  • Retinopathy is present in at least one-third of persons with diabetes
  • It threatens vision, or has already destroyed sight, in 10% of persons with diabetes

Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that affects the eyes. It's caused by damage to the blood vessels of the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye (retina).

At first, diabetic retinopathy may cause no symptoms or only mild vision problems. Eventually, however, diabetic retinopathy can result in blindness.

Diabetic retinopathy can develop in anyone who has type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes. The longer you have diabetes, and the less controlled your blood sugar is, the more likely you are to develop diabetic retinopathy.

To protect your vision, take prevention seriously. Start by carefully controlling your blood sugar level and scheduling yearly eye exams.

Most of the times the visual impairment in diabetics can be due to a swelling on the centre of the retina called the “macula”. This condition is called the Diabetic Macular Edema.

Diabetic retinopathy treatment

Treating diabetic retinopathy early can yield fantastic results, with as many as 95% of patients avoiding substantial vision loss if they are treated in time. That’s why it’s so important to have regular eye exams to check for diabetic retinopathy.

Diabetic Macular Edema

Laser treatment for diabetic retinopathy

Patients who have reached the proliferative retinopathy stage – where abnormal blood vessels grow on the retina – can be treated with a procedure called laser photocoagulation. A laser is used to seal off leaking blood vessels and prevent further growth of blood vessels that lead to loss of vision.

Insight Eye Clinic is equipped with the latest Multispot Laser for faster, precise, and painless laser procedures.

Medication for diabetic retinopathy

Drugs called as Anti VEGF agents have shown promising results in trials and may be able to stop and even reverse vision loss in patients with early stages of diabetic retinopathy and in Diabetic Macular Edema. These drugs have to be given as injections into the eye to be effective. The frequency and the number of injections needed depends upon the severity of the diabetic retinopathy. Needless to say that for the treatment to be effective a strict control of the blood sugar and associated diseases like hypertensive etc is essential.

Dr Nishikant Borse has been awarded the 'J M Pahwa Award' by the 'Vitreoretinal Society of India' for his work on Diabetic Retinopathy.

Surgical Treatment

If you have blurred vision because of a vitreous haemorrhage – where blood leaks into the ‘gel’ that fills the eye or if the retina of the eye is getting detached due to diabetic retinopathy changes you may also need a surgery called Vitrectomy.

Insight Eye Clinic specialises in Minimally Invasive Vitrectomy Surgery (MIVS).This is a suture less procedure which offers the patient a very rapid postoperative recovery


Laser treated Eye

Commonly asked questions about Diabetic Retinopathy

Are eye checks necessary if diabetes is mild and controlled?

Ans - Yes. The risk is only less in controlled diabetes.

Are eye checks necessary if diabetes control is very good?

Ans - The risk is considerably reduced, but other factors can influence retinopathy development like the duration of diabetes.

Is fluctuating vision a sign of developing retinopathy?

Ans - Yes, it can be due to retinopathy or due to fluctuating (high) blood sugar affecting the lens of the eye. It may be due to the onset of Presbyopia (need to wear glasses for close work) which usually starts to occur from mid-forties onwards.

Is there any point in putting a big effort into diabetes control if a person with diabetes already has retinopathy?

Ans - Yes, there is! There is strong evidence that progression of retinopathy can be slowed by about 50% in many patients with Mild or Moderate disease. However, retinopathy is not slowed by improved blood glucose control when it is advanced, but response to laser treatment may be better.

Pain from Anti VEGF injections – numerous concerns

Ans - Most people who have Anti VEGF injections treatment do not experience pain as the eye is well numbed with anaesthetic drops prior to the injections.

Are Anti VEGF injections safe?

Ans - Intraocular Injections do have a risk of few complications. These complications are however rare. The benefits of these injection far outweigh these risks.

Do Anti VEGF injections need to be repeated each year or so?

Ans - This may be necessary in some persons with macular disease if the disease remains active and recurs. The recurrence is due to multiple actors of which uncontrolled blood sugar is a major cause.

Is Laser Treatment Painful?

Ans - Treatment to the peripheral retina may cause transient pain and a dull ache for a few hours following treatment. The ophthalmologist will take measures to reduce pain from laser treatment.

How soon do the benefits of laser treatment become evident?

Ans - Laser is extremely effective in most patients treated, but benefits may not occur for some months after it is finished. Vision may improve for a long time as the retinopathy stabilizes.

After laser treatment is finished, will it need to be repeated each year or so?

Ans - This may be necessary in some persons with progressive disease if the disease remains active and recurs in areas of the retina not previously requiring treatment.

Can a patient tell if diabetes is affecting their eyes?

Ans - As indicated, occasionally fluctuating vision is a clue. However, in early retinopathy there are no symptoms, and visual acuity is normal (unless cataract or other disease affecting sight is present). Hence, the need for routine retinal examinations. In many advanced cases too it has been observed that visual symptoms develop very late in the disease.

Visit us at Insight Eye Clinic and experience unrivalled professional service from the moment you step in. We offer the best Diabetic Retinopathy in Mumbai and assure our clients the highest quality eye care.