Some Interesting  Facts About Diabetic Retinopathy


One of the most common complications of diabetes, diabetic retinopathy, typically affects both eyes and can occur in people with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. The main cause of retinopathy is damage to the small blood vessels in the retina, the inner, light-sensitive layer of the eye. The disease will progress slowly over many years. Consequently, diabetics must maintain strict blood sugar control, to slow disease onset and progression. In the UK there is a well-established diabetic eye disease screening program and early eye disease or sight-threatening disease is identified through annual retinal photography.

 Key Facts about Diabetic Retinopathy

  • Diabetic retinopathy can cause sight loss or blindness and is one of the commonest causes of blindness in the working population in the UK.
  • Diabetic retinopathy usually presents 10-15 years after a diagnosis of diabetes although often in type2 diabetes it may be the first sign of disease.
  • Early and timely treatment is important to reduce the risk of blindness hence the importance of annual diabetic eye screening.
  • Diabetic retinopathy can affect the macula or the center of the retina (leakage from blood vessels) or the peripheral retina (bleeding from blood vessels).
  • Treatment options include injections in the eye or laser treatment.
  • Optimal control of blood glucose, blood pressure, blood cholesterol, weight, and diet is critical to the treatment of diabetic retinopathy

Other ways that diabetes affects our eyes?

Blurry vision due to fluid leaking into the natural lens of the eye can cause the lens to swell and change shape can be a feature of unstable diabetes or when insulin treatment begins. In this instance, the problem will usually settle after a few weeks.

Diabetic patients tend to develop cataracts at an early age than non-diabetics and are more prone to develop inflammation after surgery.


The risk of sight-threatening retinopathy and subsequent blindness can be reduced by following the above advice. Make sure you see a qualified Ophthalmologist if you develop any worrying symptoms such as blurred vision or floaters.

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