Diabetic Retinopathy Symptoms and Screening


Diabetic Retinopathy

Retinopathy caused due to diabetes can severely impair a person’s vision. There are some early diabetic retinopathy symptoms, which if identified can help in the patient receiving timely treatment. These symptoms develop gradually as damage to the blood vessels present in the retina due to elevated blood sugar levels start affecting the vision of the patient.

Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy

The most common diabetic retinopathy symptoms are:

  • Unexpected changes in the vision
  • Pain and discomfort in the eye
  • Blurred vision
  • Double vision
  • Loss of vision
  • Seeing spots
  • Eye floaters in the vision
  • Night vision loss

If the condition is not detected or if it is neglected, long-term complications can include retinal detachment or blindness

What is retinopathy?

Damage to the retina is known as retinopathy. In people with diabetes, retinopathy is primarily caused due to elevated blood sugar levels. High blood pressure can also be a cause for this condition.

Knowing about the diabetic retinopathy symptoms can help in early detection and early treatment before much damage is done. The blood vessels present in the retina are damaged due to elevated blood sugar levels and this can lead to bleeding. Therefore, it is essential for people with diabetes to keep a check on their blood sugar levels.

Should you undergo retinopathy screening?

Yes, you should undergo retinopathy screening if you have diabetes. Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy can vary in the initial stages and may not be noticeable. You can speak to your doctor or health-care provider about your health condition and eyesight. Go for an eye check-up at least once in a year.

Retinopathy screening is a very simple procedure which allows your doctor or eye specialist to note any changes or damage to the blood vessels present in the retina. Based on the findings, suitable treatment can be suggested by the health-care team.

Note – Now that you know about the diabetic retinopathy symptoms, get in touch with your doctor immediately if you notice any of the above mentioned symptoms. Any delay in seeking treatment can affect your vision. Stay safe, keep your blood sugar levels in control and spread the information to those who may need it.

Diabetic Retinopathy Screening

Uncontrolled diabetes is the common cause of eye problems (diabetic retinopathy) in patients. High blood sugar damages the blood vessels in the body. When the blood vessels in the eyes are damaged, it leads to vision problems. Diabetic retinopathy screening is a must for every diabetic patient. This can help in identifying any damage to the eye in the early stages itself. If neglected, it can cause severe damage to the eye and lead to vision loss.

Who should undergo screening for diabetic retinopathy?

Every diabetic patient who is above the age of 12 years should undergo retinal examination at least once every year. If you feel that you have trouble seeing clearly or if your eyesight is not as good as it used to be before, consult your doctor and talk about your symptoms.

Where can you get the retinal screening done?

You can get a diabetic retinopathy screening done at a hospital. You could also book your appointment with an eye specialist or optician near your area. Mostly, the screening is free and you wouldn’t have to pay for it regardless of where you are getting it done.

Procedure of retinopathy screening
  • Firstly, a photo of your retina is taken by the optician. To do so, the optician would have to clearly see the interior part of your eye.
  • Eye drops that expand your pupils will be administered to you. It usually takes 20 minutes for your pupils to get expanded to enable the optician to take a photo.
  • Just keep your eyes open and do not blink after the eye drops are administered. Some people experience discomfort or a slight sting once the drops are administered. Try and finish it in one go and avoid having additional attempts.
  • The fluid should mainly spread on the center part of your eye. This would expand the pupils and the optician can then take a photograph of the retina with the help of a specific device. You need to keep your eyes fully open for the optician to get a good photo.
  • Once this is done, you could also get your eyesight measured.
Would anything else be required for the screening?

Whenever you go for a diabetic retinopathy screening, carry a pair of sunglasses along with you. You could cover your eyes with them when you step out in the sun after the screening. Driving or crossing the road can be tough with expanded pupils. Sunglasses would protect your eyes from the sun, dust and smoke.

Doctors generally advice patients not to drive after the retinopathy screening. You would have to take rest at the medical facility till your pupils get back to their normal state. If you have glasses for vision correction, carry them along for the screening.

When would you get the results of retinopathy screening?

The optician would closely examine the photographs and then let you know about the findings. The results of diabetic retinopathy screening are generally sent to the patient a few days after the screening.

If you haven’t received the results even after a month then you need to notify your doctor or health care center about it.


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