Diabetic retinopathy is one of the complications of diabetes. Characterized by abnormal growth of blood vessels in the retina, diabetic retinopathy essentially means that the retina is getting damaged due to increased blood sugar and may lead to blindness if not treated in time. The longer a person has diabetes, the more he/she is at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. Hence, timely diagnosis and treatment of the condition is crucial.
According to new studies type 2 diabetes patients with no symptoms of retinopathy (such as blurred vision, spots before eyes) and no other risk factors can be safely screened every three years.
On the other hand, patients on insulin therapy and those having diabetes for more than 20 years should be screened on a yearly basis (as even in the absence of symptoms, this group has showed a higher incidence of retinopathy which can threaten the vision of a person).
A more frequent screening (i.e. every 4 months) is to be done in diabetics with mild proliferative retinopathy (i.e. a stage when the abnormal blood vessels have just begun to grow)
Hence, it is essential that all diabetes patients understand the importance of screening for diabetes related eye disease (i.e. diabetic retinopathy) to prevent any unnecessary complications.