One of the most serious complications from diabetes is called diabetic retinopathy. This disease, which causes damage to retinal blood vessels due to high blood sugar, can lead to blindness if it isn't caught early on.
Diabetic retinopathy is known in the medical community as the "silent disease." Many of the visual symptoms from this disease (e.g. floaters, blurred vision, and problems differentiating colors) only occur after the disease has progressed quite a bit.
Although there's no real "cure" for diabetic retinopathy, there are numerous ways doctors can halt the progression of this disease. In addition to diet modification and blood vessel growth inhibitors, eye doctors are becoming more and more interested in a new injectable drug called Anti-Vegf. Some experts believe Anti-Vegf might be the preferred treatment method for diabetic retinopathy in the years to come.
Anti-Vegf was designed to block various harmful proteins from getting into the eye. This drug has also been shown to effectively remove excess bleeding and leakage from the retinal vessels.
Before the procedure, doctors first numb whatever eye needs the injection. After that, the doctor will simply inject Anti-Vegf into the eye and, within a few minutes, the procedure is done. It's that simple.
In addition to the Anti-Vegf drug, some doctors are now using injectable implants to reduce the symptoms of diabetic retinopathy. These implants, which are generally smaller than one grain of rice, release steroids into the eyes at various intervals over a three-year period. Doctors who use this method note that their patients see a great reduction in eye inflammation and swelling with these remarkable implants.
The main adverse side effect experienced by people who use Anti-Vegf is an increase in eye swelling. If this occurs, patients are advised to contact their GP right away.
Surgery can be used to correct diabetic retinopathy, but doctors only advise using surgical methods if the disease is severe. A few surgeries used for diabetic retinopathy include vitrectomy, laser coagulation, and laser surgery.
Since diabetic retinopathy is such a silent disease, it's extremely important for diabetics to get an annual eye exam to avoid preventable blindness. As mentioned above, diabetic retinopathy can be lurking in a patient's eyes for years before symptoms show up. The earlier an ophthalmologist is able to detect diabetic retinopathy, the more treatment options he/she can use to reduce the disease's symptoms.