Diabetes can cause complications to many organs of the human body. One of these is the eye, which can be affected in many ways. It can cause temporary blurriness and cataracts. The most serious condition of the eye concerning diabetes is diabetic retinopathy.
The retina is made up of a thin tissue which is sensitive to light, similar to a film of a camera. It has an excellent web of blood vessels. In the middle of the retina is the macula that covers a very small surface, roughly the size of a pinhead. This is the most specialized part of the retina and is of upmost importance as it gives us the ability to see details when we read and write and also in the recognition of colors. The other parts of the retina give us peripheral vision. In the space in font of the retina there is a jelly like substance called the vitreous.
Background diabetic retinopathy: This is a common disease in people suffering from diabetes for a long time. At this stage the blood vessels supplying the retina have been affected very little. They may have enlarged slightly and hemorrhage (micro aneurysm). The patient’s life is not usually affected.
Maculopathy: If the simple retinopathy increases over a long period of time, then the macula may be affected. When this happens the central vision will be affected. The percentage of central vision loss varies from person to person. However the vision necessary for usual movement is not affected (peripheral vision).
Proliferative diabetic retinopathy: Diabetes can sometimes cause blockage of the blood vessels in the retina. If this happens, then new vessels develop in the eye. This is the normal reaction of the system to restore the normal circulation of the blood to the retina. Unfortunately these vessels are weak. They are also in the wrong position. . They grow on the surface of the retina and in the vitreous. As a result these vessels hemorrhage very easily and cause the formation of fibrous tissue inside the eye which attracts and deforms the retina.
Treatment: Most of the problems created by diabetic retinopathy can be treated with intraocular injections in combination with Laser therapy. If a hemorrhage develops in the eye then a more specialized surgical operation is necessary (Vitrectomy).
Vitrectomy is a surgical procedure of major achievement which allows the therapy of retinal diseases and deters the loss of vision in people who previously may have become blind as this procedure was not available. The surgical procedure usually lasts 1-2 hours and sometimes longer in complicated circumstances.