Diabetic retinopathy is treated with laser treatment that can be performed in the clinic with no hospitalization stay. Focal laser is usually done in non-proliferative cases to slow down the leakage of fluid and reduce the amount of fluid in the retina while scatter laser shrinks the abnormal blood vessels in proliferative cases. Multiple sessions may be required to complete the treatment. This treatment has been shown to reduce risk of severe vision loss by 50%. In addition, patients with proliferative retinopathy have less than 5% chance of losing their vision within the next 5 years if they receive timely and appropriate treatment.
Surgery is only needed if there is a retinal detachment or if bleeding does not resolve spontaneously.
All individuals with diabetes are at risk. The longer you have diabetes, the more likely it is for you to develop diabetic retinopathy. Studies have shown that 60% of diabetics on tablets and 100% of diabetics on injection have some form of diabetic eye disease over time. Diabetic retinopathy may be a problem for women with diabetes during pregnancy. Pregnant woman with diabetes should have a comprehensive eye examination even before family planning.
There are 3 types of diabetic retinopathy:
About 1 in 10 Singaporeans are diabetics. As the risk of developing diabetes increases with age, the prevalence of diabetes in Singapore expected to rise further along with the increased life expectancy in the country. Diabetes can affect the eye in many ways: