Diabetic Eye Screening in Singapore
Diabetes is a common disease that may result in complications in the eyes. One of the most common diabetic eye diseases is diabetic retinopathy.
This is because changes occur mainly in the retina, the light-sensitive layer at the back of the eye responsible for vision.
Diabetic retinopathy happens as a result of prolonged elevated sugar levels in the blood, the delicate blood vessels in the retina become fragile and start to leak fluid and proteins into the retinal tissue. This causes swelling of the retina (see Fig 1), especially in the centre area (macula) where vision is most detailed, resulting in blurred vision. Other changes in the retinal blood vessels lead to the narrowing and closure of some of the smaller blood vessels, causing insufficient blood supply and resulting in parts of the retina being starved of oxygen and nutrition. When they lack oxygen, these areas of the retina can be detected by the eye surgeon during routine eye examinations (see Fig 2), but will not be noticed by the patient until it is too late.
The late changes that occur, which will only be noticed by the patient when vision is markedly reduced, include bleeding into the eye from abnormal new blood vessel formation and swelling of the macula (macular oedema). This is why it is ESSENTIAL when you have diabetes to go for regular eye screenings (Regular Diabetic Retinal Screening) to detect earlier signs of diabetic retinopathy when there are no changes in vision yet. Additionally, diabetics are also more highly susceptible to cataracts and glaucoma. These can then be treated at an earlier stage with a much better visual outcome.
Not all changes in the retina resulting from diabetes need to be treated. If they are very early, improvements in diabetic sugar control over the long term can cause those eye changes to reverse when you visit your eye specialist for a diabetic eye check-up.
Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy in Singapore
If your diabetic retinopathy test indicates that your disease has progressed to a later stage, then you will be given treatment, and our eye specialist will inform you. Treatment usually involves the laser and is mainly of 2 types: Central (macular) laser and Peripheral laser (what surgeons call PRP or pan-retinal photocoagulation).
Central laser is for vessel leakage around the area of detailed vision (macula) and is designed to reduce the amount of fluid leakage, thus, leading to improvement in the retinal swelling. Peripheral laser is designed to reduce the amount of retinal tissue that is not receiving adequate oxygen. It does this by reducing the oxygen usage of parts of the peripheral retina less important for vision. Both macular laser and PRP laser will require a few sessions on separate appointments to complete.
EyeWise Vision Clinic has access to and uses a pattern scanning laser from OptiMedica, which completes the treatment in much less time and with NO PAIN, compared to conventional Argon or standard treatment lasers. If you have been treated with a conventional laser for diabetic eye disease before, this is completely a different experience. Schedule a consultation and screening to know if this treatment will best suit your condition.
Visit Our Clinic for a Diabetic Retinopathy Test
Visiting a diabetic screener can help you detect whether you’re at risk of diabetic retinopathy and know how you can prevent vision complications from it. EyeWise Vision Clinic provides comprehensive diabetic retinal screening in Singapore, so we can assess your condition and help you with diabetic eye management. We also provide laser treatment for diabetic retinopathy that is in its complex stages.
Book an appointment with our clinic today.
Frequently Asked Questions About Diabetic Retinopathy and Eye Screening
Signs that diabetes may be affecting your eyes include having blurry or wavy vision, dark areas or loss of vision, poor colour vision, flashes of light, and spots or dark strings. Make sure to get your eyes checked by undergoing regular diabetic eye and retinal screening.
It’s recommended that people with diabetes regularly see an eye doctor, so they can assess if they’re at risk of diabetic retinopathy. That way, they can take proactive measures in preventing its progression and affecting their vision.
Diabetic eye screenings and general eye screenings are similar in a lot of ways, but the big difference is that diabetic eye check-ups focus more on the condition of your retina and how the blood vessels are in your eyes. Our diabetic eye screener will use fluorescein angiography to identify if you have any damaged blood cells in your eyes, as well as check your pupil dilation.