Caring For Your Eyes (Part 6)

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Dr. S.S. Gill Resident Consultant Ophthalmologist

In Ipoh Echo’s series on Eye Health, Dr. S.S. Gill, Consultant Ophthalmologist at Hospital Fatimah summarizes the key points in the sixth and final part on Diabetes Mellitus and the eye complications (diabetic retinopathy).

In Summary

  1. Diabetic Retinopathy is a common complication of diabetes mellitus – it’s the leading cause of blindness.
  2. Examine the eyes annually even if there are no symptoms. Do not wait for blurring vision before going for an eye check. When symptoms occur, it is late because it usually indicates some form of eye complication.

The Eye Examination

After the initial eye check, a mandatory dilated eye examination is done. This is done by placing eyedrops into the eyes until pupils are dilated.

Using special equipment, the eye doctor examines the inside of the eye (retina). After this eye examination, the patient’s close-up vision may remain blurred for several hours.

Signs that will be looked for are:

a)      Leaking blood vessels & bleeding.
b)     Retinal (or nerve) swelling (macular edema).
c)      Pale, fatty deposits on the retina.

A patient examined at the slit-lamp

How is diabetic retinopathy treated?

Laser treatment is given. It’s an outpatient procedure. The laser treatment shrinks the abnormal blood vessels. Two or more sessions usually are required.

If the bleeding in the eye is severe, a surgical procedure called a vitrectomy may be needed to be done where blood is removed from the inside of the eye.

Once a person has diabetic eye complications, they will always be at risk for new bleeding in the eye even in the future and need to be checked regularly.

For more information, contact Gill Eye Specialist Centre, Hospital Fatimah (05-5455582), or email gilleyecentre@dr.com.