Dr. Ashlekha Sharma
A recent pooled analysis from 35population based studies estimated 93 million people worldwide have diabetic retinopathy of whom 17 million (~18%) have proliferative diabetic retinopathy,21 million (~23%) have diabetic macular edema (DME) and 28 million (~20%) have sight threatening diabetic retinopathy. So, it is the leading cause of blindness. Therefore, it is a worthwhile topic for all medical students to conduct a research in diabetic retinopathy.
Background Diabetic retinopathy include micro aneurysms and hemorrhages in retina together with exudates. Visual acuity may be normal or reduced. Risk factors are chronicity, hypertension, genetic susceptibility, dyslipidemia etc. Essentially it is a microangiopathy of retinal precapillary arterioles, capillaries and venules. The endothelial cell damage, thickening of capillary basement membrane, changes in RBCs, increased stickiness of platelets, loss of capillary pericytes etc. are the vascular changes seen in retinopathy. This will finally cause occlusion of capillaries, retinal ischemia and other Intra Retinal Micro abnormalities. As a compensatory mechanism, neovascularization develops finally leading to hemorrhages and edema in the retina. This hampers the vision and finally cause irreversible blindness.