Diabetic retinopathy is the most common form of diabetic eye disease. It occurs when changes in blood glucose levels cause changes in retinal blood vessels. In some cases, these vessels will swell up (macular oedema) and leak fluid into the rear of the eye.
In other cases, abnormal blood vessels will grow on the surface of the retina. Unless treated, diabetic retinopathy can gradually become more serious and progress from ‘background retinopathy’ to seriously affecting vision and can lead to blindness.
Symptoms may only become noticeable once the disease advances, but the typical symptoms or retinopathy to look out for include:
Before any procedure can be performed, you will require a thorough eye examination with Dr Furness to ensure you are a suitable candidate. Your consultation will require Dr Furness to dilate your pupils to have a clear unobstructed view of the back of your eye. You will not be able to drive for 3 to 5 hours after your appointment as the dilating pupil drops will leave you blurry and light sensitive.
An intravitreal injection is an injection of a medication into the vitreous (the jelly like structure that fills the middle of the eye). Eye care professionals often recommend administering medications directly into the vitreous, as it allows the medication to be placed much closer to where the disease is occurring, while decreasing the risk of side effects.
The main goal of treatment is to stabilize vision by sealing off leaking blood vessels that interfere with the proper function of the macula. In some cases, vision loss may be improved with laser treatment. A laser is focused through the eye and onto the retina. The laser destroys the abnormal blood vessels located underneath the retina to prevent further damage to the eye.
You may be referred to an external specialist if laser treatment is required.
Dr Furness’ main aim is visual freedom for his patients. You will be educated to a high degree about your condition and the procedure type that is recommended. Rest assured you are entrusting your vision to a world class surgeon.