Diabetic eye disease can affect many parts of the eye, including the retina, macula, lens and optic nerve.
Diabetic retinopathy affects blood vessels in the light-sensitive tissue called the retina that lines the back of the eye. It is the most common cause of vision loss among people with diabetes and the leading cause of vision impairment and blindness among working-age adults.
It may not affect your vision in its early stages, and you may not even be aware that you have it. That’s why it’s important to have regular check-ups from an eye specialist if you have diabetes.
When diabetic retinopathy starts to affect your vision, you may notice you have difficulty reading and performing close-up work. Floaters in your vision and double vision may also be symptoms, although they can have other causes too.
In some cases, the condition may also lead to glaucoma.
The early or ‘non-proliferative stages are characterised by damage to the blood vessels in the retina, but your vision tends not to be affected.
Once the disease reaches the more advanced ‘proliferative’ stage, abnormal and fragile blood vessels begin to grow on the retina.
In this problem, the abnormal blood vessels leak fluid into the macula – the centre of the retina – causing blurred vision.
Sometimes, the abnormal blood vessels can bleed into the vitreous ‘gel’ inside the eye. This is known as a vitreous haemorrhage and can also cause blurred vision.
Vision lost to diabetic retinopathy is sometimes irreversible. However, early detection and treatment can reduce the risk of blindness by 95%.
Because the condition often lacks early symptoms, people with diabetes should get a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year.
People already diagnosed with the condition may need eye exams more frequently.
Women with diabetes who become pregnant should have a comprehensive dilated eye exam as soon as possible as eye disease can get suddenly worse in pregnancy. Additional exams during pregnancy may be needed.
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Diabetic retinopathy (die-uh-BET-ik ret-ih-NOP-uh-thee) is a diabetes complication that affects 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 might cause no symptoms or only mild vision problems. But it can lead to 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. Click here to read more.
Diabetic retinopathy is the most common form of diabetic eye disease. Diabetic retinopathy usually only affects people who have had diabetes (diagnosed or undiagnosed) for a significant number of years.
Retinopathy can affect all diabetics and becomes particularly dangerous, increasing the risk of blindness, if it is left untreated. Click here to read more.
People with diabetes can have an eye disease called diabetic retinopathy. This is when high blood sugar levels cause damage to blood vessels in the retina. These blood vessels can swell and leak. Or they can close, stopping blood from passing through. Sometimes abnormal new blood vessels grow on the retina. All of these changes can steal your vision. Click here to read more.