Diabetic retinopathy is the most common diabetic eye disease and a leading cause of blindness. Almost every patient with long history of uncontrolled diabetes suffers from diabetic retinopathy sooner or later. It affects the person in various stages and symptoms are widely different in patients. Uncontrolled blood sugar levels affect the permeability and blood flow of retinal blood vessels. The resultant is leaking blood from the vessels even with a mild mechanical jerk or even with slightly increased blood pressure. In early stages, there are small dot hemorrhages in retina or vitreous. The stage can lead to significant vision loss if there is leakage of vessels underneath macula. The resulting macular edema causes disturbance in the uniformity of the retinal surface and hence, the patient sees the distorted images.
In advanced stage, proliferation and neo – vascularization result in severe and multiple hemorrhages that ultimately lead to vision loss as the degeneration progresses and becomes irreversible too.
Stages of Diabetic Retinopathy:
Broadly there are two types, or stages of retinopathy: Non Proliferative or Proliferative.
Non Proliferative diabetic retinopathy develops first. Blood vessels in the eye become larger in certain spots (called micro aneurysms). Blood vessels may also become blocked. There may be small amounts of bleeding (retinal hemorrhages), and fluid may leak into the retina. This can lead to noticeable problems with your eyesight.
Proliferative retinopathy is the more advanced and severe form of the disease. New blood vessels start to grow in the eye. These new vessels are fragile and can bleed (hemorrhage). Small scars develop, both on the retina and in other parts of the eye (the vitreous). The end result is vision loss, as well as other problems.
Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy:
- Blurred vision and gradual vision loss
- Progressively diminishing vision
- Shadows or missing areas of vision
- Difficulty seeing at nighttime
Many people with early diabetic retinopathy have no symptoms before major bleeding occurs in the eye. This is why everyone with diabetes should have regular eye exams.
Treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy:
Diabetic Retinopathy is caused by vitiation of vata, pitta & kapha dosha. Diabetic retinopathy can be well controlled by Ayurvedic treatment as Ayurveda herbs not only reverse the blood clots formed in retina and vitreous but also strengthen the metabolic functions so that further chances of blood leakage can be minimized. All these things are possible only if there is strict control of blood sugar level. The major procedures done for Ayurvedic treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy are as follows –
- Lepa over eyes
- Tharpana (if no active bleeding)