Retinal Diseases

We diagnose and treat diabetic retinopathy, retinal vein occlusions or other retinal diseases.

What is diabetic retinopathy and how is it treated?

Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that affects the back of the eye (retina). One in three people living with diabetes has some degree of diabetic retinopathy, and every person who has diabetes is at risk of developing it.

Diabetic retinopathy commonly occurs in both eyes although one can be affected more than the other. In the early stages, you might not have any symptoms. Diabetes can weaken the blood vessels and cause fluid and blood to leak into the retina and sometimes in the middle of the retina (macular), which results in blurred vision. Diabetic retinopathy can progress without treatment. If the retina doesn’t get the blood it needs because of damaged blood vessels, fragile new blood vessels can grow within the retina, which can bleed and sometimes cause retinal detachment. This can lead to loss of vision and blindness.

Early detection of diabetic retinopathy is through regular eye examinations. Prevention methods firstly involve better control of blood sugar levels, cholesterol and blood pressure. If detected early, diabetic retinopathy can be treated by eye injections of anti-VEGF or steroid and laser treatment to stop the disease from progressing and prevent blindness. In the case of advanced diabetic retinopathy, surgery (vitrectomy) may be needed to remove blood and new blood vessels from the back of the eye.

What is retinal vein occlusion and how is it treated?

A retinal vein occlusion (RVO) is the blockage of one of the veins at the back of the eye. There are two major anatomic types of retinal vein occlusion (RVO): branch retinal vein occlusion (BRVO) and central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO). BRVO occurs when a vein in the distal retinal venous system is occluded, leading to haemorrhage along the distribution of a small vessel of the retina. CRVO occurs due to thrombus within the central retinal vein, leading to involvement of the entire retina. Less commonly, hemiretinal vein occlusion (HRVO) may occur when there is blockage of a vein draining the superior or inferior hemiretina.

The severity of vision loss depends on which vein is blocked and complications from RVO such as swelling of the central retina (macular oedema), damage to the retinal tissue and glaucoma. RVO is typically treated with laser applied to the affected retina or eye injections to reduce macular oedema or new growing vessels.