Louis Clearkin
Tel: 0044 151 604 7047 L.Clearkin@liverpool.ac.uk

Diabetic retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is a leading cause of blindness in all countries. It begins with damage to small blood vessels (capillaries) in the retina where micro aneuryisms develop - and in its early stages it is symptom-free, so it is essential that people with diabetes have regular, detailed eye examinations to detect it in its early stages. I am able to offer this service to patients to ensure regular, consistent surveillance with instant access to specialist diagnostic techniques and, more importantly, treatment.

The microvascular damage is progressive and impairs nutrition of the retina. In some patients this leads to neovascularisation (new blood vessel formation). Because these blood vessels are immature they can rupture, bleed and scar, causing visual loss that may not recover.

Those with Type -2 diabetes are particularly prone to central visual loss due to maculopathy (see www.vrmny.com/pe/dr.html).

Preventing progression of diabetic retinopathy through very vigorous blood sugar control is critical, and I work closely with diabetic specialists to achieve this.

Additional risk factors (eg high blood pressure, high blood fat levels, smoking) are also addressed.

Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) to demonstrate macular health, and Fundus Fluorescein Angiography (FFA), where a yellow dye is injected into a vein in the arm and photographs are taken of the back of the eye, are both central to proper management.

Treatment of diabetic retinopathy is by laser photocoagulation, particularly for proliferative retinopathy, and by intraocular injections of Anti-VEGF and steroids.

For further information about diabetic retinopathy, go to: www.nei.nih.gov/health/diabetic/retinopathy.asp