What is diabetic eye disease?
Diabetic eye disease is the name given to a group of eye conditions that can affect people living with diabetes. Diabetes, if not adequately controlled, can damage the blood vessels at the back of the eye, leading to numerous different problems. There are two main types of diabetic eye disease: diabetic maculopathy and diabetic retinopathy.
Diabetic maculopathy is caused by swelling of the macula and affects central vision. Diabetic retinopathy is caused by damaged blood vessels in the retina, leading to progressive vision loss.
If you have a diabetic eye disease and your condition is beginning to worsen, you may be a suitable candidate for injection treatment.
Injections for diabetic eye disease – What to expect
The most common treatment method for diabetic eye disease is anti-VEGF injections. VEGF, standing for vascular endothelial growth factor, is a protein that promotes the growth of blood vessels. As abnormal blood vessels cause diabetic eye disease, anti-VEGF therapy is designed to block them from growing. Anti-VEGF injections aim to slow the progression of the condition and prevent vision from deteriorating further.
Here is what you can expect before, during and after diabetic eye disease injections.
Before the procedure
Before your injection, Dr Pappalardo will explain the procedure to you, and will provide you with general guidelines to help you prepare. Although this is a minimally invasive procedure, your eye may be blurry and a little irritated afterwards, meaning that you will be unable to drive yourself home – please ensure you arrange alternative transportation to and from your appointment.
During the procedure
Diabetic eye disease injections typically take around 15 minutes to administer, and the process usually comprises the following steps.
First, your eye will be numbed using anaesthetic eye drops. Then your eyelids and the surface of your eye will be cleaned and covered over with a small drape to keep the area sterile. During the injection, Dr Pappalardo will ensure that you are comfortable. It is common to experience some pressure, however overall the procedure is not generally painful. Your eye will then be cleaned again, and some lubricating drops will be administered.
You will be provided with lubricating drops to use as required for the next 12-24 hours while the eye feels a little gritty or irritated.
After the procedure
Immediately after treatment, you may find that your eye feels gritty or irritated and that your vision is a little blurrier than usual. This should improve within 24 hours. Usually, patients will require a series of injections, initially spaced monthly, to best stabilise vision.
Dr Pappalardo will provide you with detailed aftercare instructions, including when your next injection or follow-up visit should occur.
Diabetic eye disease injections risks
As with any procedure, eye injections do not come without risks. While complications are infrequent, Dr Pappalardo will discuss these with you prior to your injection.
You will have Dr Pappalardo’s contact details after your injection so that you are able to contact her at any time if concerns arise that require advice or further management.
Get in touch to see Dr Juanita Pappalardo
Dr Pappalardo is a Specialist Ophthalmologist with experience treating a range of common eye diseases, including treating diabetic eye disease with injections. If you have diabetes and believe that your eyesight has been compromised, get in touch to plan your visit with Dr Pappalardo.