Diabetes is the single most important cause for death and disability world wide. It affects almost all organs in the body. It is estimated tat presently 19.4 million individuals are affected by this deadly disease and it is likely to go upto 57.2 million by 2025. With this statistics, every 5th diabetic in the world will be an Indian by 2025.
Diabetic retinopathy is essentially a disease process, which affects the blood vessels of the retina. It is also an indicator of the status of the blood vessels elsewhere in the body e.g. Kidney, heart, etc.
What happens to the retina in diabetes?
The pathological change in diabetes leads to the lack of blood supply or ischemia of the retina and hypoxia of retinal tissues. Long standing hypoxia leads to new vessels formation. These new vessels are fragile and bleed very easily. Excessive bleeding in the eye leaks to vitreous haemorrhage and loss of vision.
In some areas there is the swelling of the vessel wall and leakage of the fluid leading to retinal edema. Involvement of macula, the central portion of the retina leads to severe drop on vision. Scar tissue can also grow from ruptured blood vessels which will contract and pull the retina, detaching it with resultant loss of vision.
Major causes of irreversible blindness in old age.
Longer the duration of diabetes greater is the severity of retinopathy.
Hypertension, Renal disease, Hyperlipidemia, Obesity, Smoking, Anemia has an adverse on Diabetic Retinopathy.