New Techniques in Treating Diabetic Retinopathy

According to the latest global statistics, the percentage of diabetes in the UAE has reached 19.2% and it is one of the highest in the world. The eye is considered to be the most susceptible organ to be affected by diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy, is the most important complication of diabetes related to the eyes and is divided into two stages. The first stage is the pre-development of new blood vessels stage and the second stage is post-development, the latter being the more severe stage of the two, due to the fact that these vessels are being developed in weak and/or imperfect walls and also due to the higher likelihood of hemorrhage occurrences in the retina and the vitreous body.

Infiltration in the visual center is the main reason for the deterioration of visual acuity and the ability to see clearly and it may happen in both stages. For a long period of time, techniques of diabetic retinopathy treatment focused mainly on controlling symptoms and stopping the deterioration of visual acuity. But due to recent and continued advances in eye surgery techniques, treatment now leads not only to stopping the visual acuity deterioration but also to gain back and improve upon the patient's vision.

These modern techniques in eye treatment includes advances in diagnosis such as, cross-sectional photographic diagnosis, and synchronous fluorescence photography; and advances in treatments such as, injections using the latest medications (LUCENTIS®) which is designed to block VEGF. That's why it's called an anti-VEGF. By blocking VEGF, LUCENTIS may prevent damaged blood vessels from leaking fluid into the macula. This in turn may lead to a huge improvement in vision acuity and settling of the retina position in the eye. Other treatments also include vitrectomy micro surgery without surgical sutures which lead to a significant improvement in success rates of these surgeries and the improvement of vision in patients in advanced stages of diabetic retinopathy like cases of retinal detachment fibrosis and hemorrhages in the vitreous body.

Dr. Ahmed Al-Khashab stresses the importance of checking the retina when diabetes is discovered in patients and subsequent annual checkups thereafter, since early detection is considered the ideal way to prevent the development of diabetic retinopathy and the preservation of vision.

Dr. Ahmed El Khashab, MD, FRCS (Glsg)

Ophthalmology Consultant

Vitreoretinal Surgeon and Medical Director

Fellow at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow