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Diabetes can kill your Vision – Diabetic Retinopathy

Research states that every person who is a victim of Diabetes Mellitus, either type I or type II, has a define possibility of developing some ocular problem. It is seen nearly all patients of type I and more than 60 percent of type II patients are affected by Diabetic Retinopathy. But what is it and what does it do?

Diabetic Retinopathy or commonly referred to as diabetic eye disease, is the ocular manifestation of diabetes. This ocular problem is likely to occur in every patient who has been suffering from diabetes for 20 years or more. Unfortunately, Diabetic Retinopathy does not have any early signs. It has been said that 90 percent of the newly reported cases of Diabetic Retinopathy could have been avoided if proper treatment and vigilant monitoring had been done. However, the longer a person has diabetes, the more his or her chance of being affected with Diabetic Retinopathy. Like cancer, it has stages through which it affects the ocular region and further causing complete blindness.

In the first stage, which is called Non-Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (NPDR) there are no symptoms, the signs are not visible to the eye and patients will have normal vision. The only way to detect NPDR is by fundus photography, in which microaneurysms (microscopic blood-filled bulges in the artery walls) can be seen. If there is reduced vision, fluorescein angiography can be done to see the back of the eye. Narrowing or blocked retinal blood vessels can be seen clearly and this is called retinal ischemia (lack of blood flow). NPDR can be further categorized into Mild, Moderate and Severe. Based on Treatment type the market is bifurcated into Anti-Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) drug, Intraocular Steroid Injection, Laser Surgery and Vitrectomy.

In the second stage, abnormal new blood vessels (neovascularisation) form at the back of the eye as part of Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (PDR). These can burst and bleed (vitreous hemorrhage) and blur the vision, because these new blood vessels are fragile. The first time this bleeding occurs, it will leave just a few specks of blood, or spots floating in a person’s visual field, though the spots often go away after few hours. These types of large hemorrhages tend to happen more than once, often during sleep.


The rapidly changing lifestyles and improper food intake by people around the world leads them towards diseases like Diabetes and that in turn increases the number of people affected with Diabetic Retinopathy. This is fueling the growth of the Diabetic Retinopathy market around the world. Major Players like Bayer AG, Pfizer Inc., Hoffmann-La Roche ltd, Regeneron Pharmaceutical Inc., Novartis AG, Valeant Pharmaceutical International Inc., Abbott Laboratories Inc., Alimera Science Inc. and Ampio Pharmaceuticals Inc. are all investing millions into R&D and Marketing of their products to capture the soon to grow market of Diabetic Retinopathy.

According to analysts at Market Data Forecast, the Global Diabetic Retinopathy Market is estimated currently at USD 6.1 billion and is projected to reach USD 8.52 billion by 2021, at a CAGR of 6.9%. But, dearth of skilled ophthalmologist and poor primary treatment infrastructure is restraining the market growth. North America dominates this market but emerging nations of Asia Pacific such as China and India are anticipated to witness significant growth during the forecast period.

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