Diabetic Eye Disease
Diabetes is the most common cause of preventable blindness in those aged between 18-65 years in the United Kingdom. Visual loss is preventable in the majority of cases.
Diabetic eye disease may be at an advanced stage before the patient notices any change in vision. Regular ophthalmic examination is recommended in all patients with diabetes to promote early detection of eye disease. Annual check-ups are appropriate for the majority of patients, but some patients may require more frequent visits. Treatment at an early stage of eye disease prevents loss of vision which can occur if the disease progresses undetected.
Below is some further information about diabetic eye screening and treatment. If you would like to talk with us about our treatments or have any questions, please contact us.
How does Diabetes affect the Eye?
Diabetes mainly affects the retina of the eye. The retina is the sensitive nerve layer inside the eye which converts light into visual images, which are then transmitted to the brain. Diabetes can affect the retina in two ways:
1. Diabetic Maculopathy
Diabetes affects the tiny blood vessels in the retina causing leakage of fluid and haemorrhages (bleeding) in the delicate retinal tissue. If not detected, this can lead to permanent loss of sight.
2. Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy
If diabetic retinopathy progresses undetected and untreated, new blood vessels may grow in the eye. This is a very serious complicationwhich may cause bleeding within the eye (vitreous haemorrhage) and scar tissue formation which can lead to retinal detachment. which can severely damage vision.
Both diabetic maculopathy and proliferative diabetic retinopathy can be detected using digital fundus imaging (retinal photographs) which is often performed at a local optometrist as part of your local diabetic retinopathy screening programme. If significant diabetic retinopathy is found, review by a Consultant Ophthalmologist is required and early treatment can be instigated if required. This can be arranged in the Private Patient Unit at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital by our Consultant Ophthalmologists specialising in retinal problems. It will be necessary to dilate the pupils with drops so patients are advised not to drive to the appointment.
Intravitreal anti-VEGF injections
Intravitreal Lucentis and Eylea injections have been introduced as a first line treatment of diabetic macular oedema. A course of injections may be required, given at 4 weekly intervals.
Focal or Grid Laser
This type of laser treatment has been used for many years to treat diabetic maculopathy. It can be done as an outpatient and takes about 20 minutes to perform. It is painless. The effects of treatment are reviewed at 3 months to see if any further treatment is required.
This laser is applied to the peripheral retina and takes about 30 minutes to perform. This treatment can also be done as an outpatient. Sometimes more than one visit for treatment may be required. The patient can return home after the treatment and return to work the next day.
If a patient has significant vitreous haemorrhage and/or scar tissue forming on the retina, vitrectomy surgery may be indicated. In vitrectomy surgery the vitreous jelly and blood and is removed from the from the eye. At the same time any scar tissue that has formed on the retina can be removed and laser treatment performed.
How do I make an appointment?
Your Consultant’s secretary will be able to assist you with availability and costs for your chosen consultant. You can find their contact details by clicking on the link below or visiting the Consultants section.
For further information or to book a consultation contact: