New guidelines have been laid out to treat diabetic retinal degeneration, along with age-related macular degeneration. The study compared the efficiency of various drugs in treating diabetic macular degeneration. Ursula Schmidt-Erfurth, director of the University Hospital of Ophthalmology and Optometry at MedUni, Vienna, explained, “The Vienna Reading Center is one of the leading centers in the world for analyzing images of the human retina. Our analyses and studies will also form a basis for the approval of new drugs. Diabetics are particularly reliant on having normal vision, even if it is just to adjust their blood sugar on an everyday basis.”
Macular degeneration is one of the most common eye disorders in the world and symptoms can be age related or caused by diabetes. It can be successfully treated with injections with the vascular (VEGF) inhibitors.
The new guidelines were created by EURETINA Working Group. Schmidt-Erfurth said, “Doctors will be able to use these guidelines to orient and align their treatment methods. This means that both they and their patients can be confident that treatments are State of the Art.”
Eye complications related to diabetes
Diabetes is related to many eye disorders, the most common being diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is an eye disease experienced by those with diabetes. Unmanaged diabetes can cause complications to the blood vessels of the light sensitive tissue in the back of the eye – the retina. Diabetic retinopathy in its early stages may be symptomless and only mild vision impairments may be noticed. This can be confused with aging and is often overlooked. Over time, if left untreated, diabetic retinopathy can result in blindness.
Diabetic retinopathy can occur in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The longer diabetes goes uncontrolled, the higher the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy.
High blood sugar levels can damage blood vessels. Too much sugar can also cause blockages in the blood vessels in the retina, preventing oxygenated blood from reaching it. The eye attempts to make new blood vessels, but they do not develop properly, so they leak.
There are two types of diabetic retinopathy: early diabetic retinopathy and advanced diabetic retinopathy.
Early diabetic retinopathy: In this form of diabetic retinopathy, new blood vessels are not produced. The walls of the blood vessels going to the retina become weak and tiny bulges begin to protrude. This can cause blood and fluid to leak into the retina. Large blood vessels can also become irregular in diameter, and more blood vessels can become blocked. Nerve fibers in the retina can begin to swell, and even the central part of the retina may swell. At this stage. treatment is definitely required.
Advanced diabetic retinopathy: Damaged blood vessels start closing off, which causes abnormal blood vessels to grow and fluid to leak, and there can be a jelly-like substance in the center of the eye. Scar tissue causes the retina to detach from the eye. The new blood vessels block the flow of normal blood, causing pressure behind the eye that leads to nerve damage and potentially to glaucoma.
Other eye problems that diabetics can face are blurry vision, cataracts, and glaucoma. It’s important that diabetics control their diabetes as a means of reducing their risk of eye problems. Furthermore, diabetics should undergo regular eye examinations to spot changes in their eyes before the problem progresses too far.