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Diabetes - damage to the retina of the eye

Diabetes mellitus, also called diabetes, has many effects on the body - including your eyes. Diabetes can cause damage to the retina in the eye. Often the changes are not noticed at first, but in the course of time this can lead to slight visual problems and even blindness.

We would like to show how damage to the eye caused by diabetes can be detected early, what treatments help and what consequences can occur.

What diabetes does to the eye

Often the retina is affected by diabetes. The so-called diabetic retinopathy (diabetic changes in the retina) is one of the possible consequences of diabetes. The diabetic retinopathy is a disease of the retina of the eye, which in the long run damages the blood vessels of the retina by changing and even destroying the vessel walls.

Basically, it is necessary to distinguish between two forms of the disease:

- Diabetic maculopathy: In diabetic maculopathy the macula is affected - the place where the visual sense cells for colour vision are located. If blood vessels near the macula are damaged, macular edema develops, fluid that is deposited on the retina. This retinal swelling impairs the visual function. In more harmless cases, patients only see distorted. Severe cases can lead to permanent loss of visual acuity. - Diabetic Retinopathy: Diabetic retinopathy is the damage to the retina in the eye due to high blood sugar levels and is one of the most common causes of blindness in people between the ages of 20 and 65. High blood sugar levels damage the small blood vessels, the capillaries, in the retina, so that photoreceptors receive too little oxygen. This leads to the formation of new, unstable blood vessels. People with diabetic retinopathy have increasingly poor vision. In severe cases, the described retinal changes can lead to retinal detachment and eventually blindness if left untreated. Dry eyes can also be associated with diabetes, which means a reduced quality of life for those affected.

EuroEyes: treatment with laser

The type of treatment on the eye depends on the stage of the disease. If only slight damage is found, treatment is not absolutely necessary. If the damage is more advanced, patients can be treated with a laser. It is also important to be regularly tested for diabetes and diabetics should see an eye doctor at least once a year. In the best case, laser eye treatment can stop or at least significantly slow down the diabetic retinopathy.

Since 1 April 2020, the EuroEyes clinics in Shanghai and Beijing have been offering this service for patients: screening for diabetic retinopathy. By equipping them with the latest OCT technology and OCTA devices from Zeiss, EuroEyes is counteracting the increasing number of Chinese patients with retinal diseases.

Laser eye treatment causes targeted scars to form on the retina (laser coagulation) and prevents new messenger substances from being produced there. Laser eye treatment, available in two EuroEyes clinics from 1st April, can prevent impending blindness.

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