Diabetic Retinopathy​

What Is Diabetic Retinopathy?

Diabetic retinopathy is a diabetes complication that affects the eyes. It’s caused by damage to the blood vessels of the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye (retina). At first, diabetic retinopathy may cause no symptoms or only mild vision problems. Eventually, it can cause blindness.

The condition can develop in anyone who has type 1 or type 2 diabetes. The longer you have diabetes and the less controlled your blood sugar is, the more likely you are to develop this eye complication.

Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy:

In many cases, diabetic retinopathy does not offer any early symptoms and may go unnoticed until it affects vision. The symptoms can also develop so slowly that one might not notice them until considerable damage has occurred. Symptoms may include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Impaired color vision
  • Floaters, or spots and dark strings floating in your vision
  • Dark or empty areas in your vision
  • Vision loss

Diabetic retinopathy usually affects both eyes. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms above, consult with your eye care specialist immediately for a comprehensive eye exam.

Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy:

Treatment, which depends largely on the type of diabetic retinopathy you have and how severe it is, is geared towards slowing or stopping progression of the condition. Early-stage retinopathy may not require immediate treatment, but more advanced retinopathy may require laser treatment or injections of medications into the eye, possibly surgery.

Treatments may include:

  • Anti-VEGF injection therapy to reduce swelling, slow down growth of new blood vessels, and help vision improvement.
  • Laser treatment, known as focal laser treatment or panretinal photocoagulation, can slow or stop blood and fluid leakage.
  • Vitrectomy, a surgery to remove scar tissue, blood from the vitreous, and potentially improve sight.

Effective management of diabetes is the cornerstone of preventing vision loss.

Prevention of Diabetic Retinopathy:

While you might not be able to completely avoid diabetic retinopathy, you can reduce your risk and minimize vision loss by following these practices:

  • Managing your diabetes: Make healthy eating and physical activity part of your daily routine. Strive to keep your blood sugar levels within the recommended range.
  • Regular medical checkups: Include glycosylated hemoglobin testing and other screenings.
  • Monitoring blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Quitting smoking
  • Paying attention to vision changes: Recognize any changes and get prompt care if you notice any new eye problems or changes in your vision.


Please note that this information is provided for informational purposes only and should not substitute professional medical advice. If you suspect you have Diabetic Retinopathy​ or any eye-related concerns, it is important to consult with an eye care professional for a proper evaluation and personalized recommendations.