Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetes is a serious health concern in Singapore with more than 600,000 Singaporeans living with the disease.*

Diabetics are prone to developing diabetic eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema (DME). Changes in the retinal blood vessels can cause them to bleed or leak fluid and subsequently lead to severe vision loss and blindness.

A study done by the Singapore National Eye Centre in 2015 found that 42 per cent of diabetics had never had their eyes screened.* However, eye screening with dilation, at least once a year, is essential to detect diabetic retinopathy before the condition becomes severe and causes bleeding into the vitreous gel of the eye, resulting in retina detachment with very poor outcome. A Macular OCT scan is also often necessary to test for diabetic maculopathy.

Management of diabetes includes compliance with medications and maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle. This will help to control the development of diabetic eye diseases.

Many patients with diabetic retinopathy eventually require laser pan-photocoagulation to stabilise their disease and prevent progression. Some may also need focal laser and/or injection with anti-VEGF into their eyes to reverse their retinopathy and maculopathy. Very severe cases with diabetic retina detachment will require retina repair surgery.